Burt Wolf's Table: Washington State - #220

BURT WOLF:  The Pacific coast of Washington State:  one of the most beautiful parts of North America; the source for some of our best foods, and home to one of the country's most interesting public markets.  The area has become a major center for the production of films and television shows, which gives us the opportunity to visit the set of "Northern Exposure."  We'll also do some cooking with some of the town's best chefs.  So join me in Washington State at Burt Wolf's Table.

Native Americans have been living in the Pacific Northwest for at least 13,000 years.  And for most of those years, it was a perfect spot.  The area has an unusually mild climate, considering how far north it is; and when it came to food, the place was literally Mother Nature's supermarket.  The local rivers were home to hundreds of thousands of salmon, who each year returned from the ocean and swam upstream to spawn.  It was just sex for the salmon, but it was a dependable supper for the tribes.  The sea also offered up dozens of other types of fish and shellfish:  the famous Olympia oyster, the Dungeness crab, and a variety of clams.  The forests were packed with elk and deer and bear.  Wild ducks and geese regularly passed through the area.  And the wild berries and nuts were fabulous.

The first Europeans to really settle into the region were agents of the Hudson Bay Company who were here for the fur trade.  They planted gardens which, surprisingly, contained potatoes --- potatoes that had come here not with the Irish immigrants, the way they came to the East Coast, but from the Spanish missionaries who had learned about potatoes in South America and taught their cultivation to the Native Americans here, who in turn showed it to the fur traders.  Today, Washington potatoes are a major crop for the state, and a big deal to potato lovers all over the country.

Seattle, Washington has also developed a corps of really excellent chefs.  The Dahlia Lounge is one of the most respected restaurants in town, and Tom Douglas is the chef-owner.  The type of cooking that is his specialty is called cross-cultural.

TOM DOUGLAS:  I'm a world traveler, it's my favorite thing to do in the world, is to travel around and to take things that I've had, that I love, dissect them, think about them, try and recreate them, and do them either a little bit better or a little bit different, or ... have fun with it.  So it doesn't matter whether it's Mexican or Japanese or Italian or my mother's cooking, I'll steal it and do my best with it.

Crab cakes made me famous in Seattle.  You know, on the East Coast you go to a diner, you go to a hotel, you go to the finest restaurants, every restaurant offers a crab cake, especially the Eastern Shore area near the Chesapeake, where I'm from.  And when I come to Seattle, there's these huge Dungeness crabs in the market, there's king crab from Alaska, there's Tanner crab, snow crab, crabs everywhere, and not one restaurant had crab cakes.  And so I got this quote-unquote gourmet reputation over my fresh Dungeness crab cakes.

There's a couple of things I want to show you before you get out of here.  My favorite, fish lamps, which have been the most popular thing since we opened our restaurant.  The person who made these lamps has sold close to 500 of them, because they're the coolest things ever... they were even in the movie Sleepless in Seattle ... so those are great things.  My red walls, that my wife and I fought over ... we finally mixed our two favorite paints together and came up with this color.  And don't forget my knees.  Most chefs don't cook in shorts, but I do, because ... most chefs wear whites, but I don't ... I'm kind of the irreverent chef in Seattle, I'm the only who doesn't necessarily follow all of the rules.  There's just something about people that take food too seriously, and I don't ... I don't ever want to do that.

DOUGLAS (in kitchen):  Hey, J.P.

COOK:  I messed up your tomatoes.  (LAUGHS)

WOLF:  "Northern Exposure" is a television series set in the fictitious town of Cicely, Alaska, but actually filmed just outside of Seattle, Washington.  Dr. Joel Fleischmann, a classic New York kid, played by Rob Morrow, makes a deal with the state of Alaska to pay for his medical education in exchange for four years of practice after his graduation.  The series traces his adjustment to his new and rather quirky environment.  The show has great ratings, the critics love it, and it gets special attention from me because there's always something in the script that deals with food.

DAVE THE COOK:  I wonder how they get that sweetbread so crisp.

RUTH-ANN:  It's the batter.  Oh --  I'd like some more of those delicious little olive rolls.

ADAM:  Souffle de clam.

MAURICE:  You made this?

ADAM:  No, Maurice.  I got a mix from the convenience store, just plopped in an egg and a cup of water.  Of course I made it, you imbecile!

DAVE:  Is that Red’s order?

SHELLY:  Uh-huh.  Pancakes and ... shrimp salad.

DAVE:  Supposed to be link sausages.


HOLLING:  Oh, and there was this mile-long table bearing sweets of every kind.  Italian plum tartlets and marzipan cakes, and my favorite ... coq am bouche.  You just pick off the little cream puffs and pop them into your mouth one by one.  Oh ...

SHELLY:  Oh, yeah.

ADAM:  Why do I bother?  Why do I even cook?

COOK:  Because you're hungry?

WOLF:  Sicily's best restaurant — actually, Sicily's only restaurant — is called the Brick.  It's owned and operated by Holling Vincoeur and his wife Shelly, played by John Cullum and Cynthia Geary.

SHELLY:  Mondo weirdo.

“HOLLING” (John Cullum):  Well, moose is our main meat.  We do have some ... sort of ... not many of our clientele like salads and things of that nature.

“SHELLY” (Cynthia Geary):  Exactly.  You know, they're really into mooseburgers and reindeer patty and stuff like that.  But ... I think that's kind of a hype.  I mean, seriously, people really want beef.  I mean, they want hamburgers, they want bacon, they want stuff like that.  So ... yeah.

WOLF:  I think it's interesting that Holling is resisting the idea of franchising.

SHELLY:  I don't know what it is, but Holling kind of likes just having the one place and everything.  But I've been telling him, we should expand.  I think the Brick could go international.

HOLLING:  I might do some franchising ... but just in this area, because I don't really think that mooseburgers would go over too well in Tallahassee, Florida.

WOLF:  I've noticed that in the Lower 48, there's an increased interest in the relationship of good food to good health.


WOLF:  I wonder, is anything happening here in Cicely along those lines?

HOLLING:  Not really.

SHELLY:  I've got the greatest recipe for Hershey bars!  You take Hershey bars and you melt them in with peanut butter, and then you take real nuts, you take almonds and cashews, and melt that all in together, and put it over ice cream.  It is so good!  Holling loves it.

WOLF:  Oh, that's wonderful.  Why don't you put it on the menu?

SHELLY:  I will.  See, Holling won't let me tell anybody, cause that's his special thing I make for him, but I think I'm gonna do that.

HOLLING:  We have some pretty horrendous desserts here at the Brick, mainly since Shelly's arrived.  It's not that we serve very fancy things, but there's ... since Shelly, we serve a lot of different colors.  (WOLF LAUGHS)

SHELLY:  Well, yeah.  I guess that's one of my fortes.  I'm pretty artistic, and so ... you know, I like to put these little colored umbrellas in a whole lot of different colors, because ... you know, I guess I kinda got a flair for fashion, and color and things, and ...

HOLLING:  It's amazing, what color ... apple pie can turn into.  I mean, peppermint-colored ... even she has a way of making separate colors, striped apple pie and things like that, it's really nice.

WOLF:  To further confirm my judgement that the people who produce this show are really serious about food, they've gone and written the “Northern Exposure Cookbook”:  clever recipes and really nice text written in the style and voice of the characters.  A recipe I want to test is Ruth-Ann's meatloaf.

RUTH-ANN:  Meatloaf?

RUTH-ANN’S SON:  Mm-hm.  With bacon and catsup on top.

WOLF:  Ruth-Ann Miller, played by Peg Phillips, is the 75-year-old owner of Cicely's general store, which also serves as the town library, video shop, and local post office.  She's the kind of person you can trust with a meatloaf.  So I borrowed a little spot in the kitchen of Seattle's Four Seasons Olympic Hotel, and chef Brooke Vosika, to test out the recipes.

Ruth-Ann's meatloaf recipe starts with a big bowl, into which goes one egg, a pinch of salt, a little black pepper, some thyme, two tablespoons of prepared mustard, a cup of milk, a half-cup of chopped celery, a half-cup of chopped onion, and a quarter-cup of catsup.  All that gets mixed together.  Then in goes a pound and a half of ground chuck, and one and a half cups of soft bread crumbs.  The beef mixture goes into a loaf pan.  Two tablespoons of catsup are spread on top, and finally three strips of uncooked bacon.  Into a 350-degree-Fahrenheit oven for an hour, and Ruth-Ann's meatloaf is ready.  The loaf comes out of the pan and gets sliced.  Two slices go onto a plate, some scalloped potatoes, and a few vegetables.  The stage direction reads:  "Enter Hungry."

The choice of a meatloaf recipe for Ruth-Ann's character is really ideal.  Beef contains iron, and iron is the nutrient that is most often missing in the diet of adult women.  Beef also contains the kind of iron that is most easily absorbed by your body.  Beef also has zinc, and zinc is essential to your cells when they are trying to repair themselves from a cut or a wound.  But the thing that fascinates me most about zinc is it helps you taste and smell, so beef is kind of fascinating:  it gives you the zinc that helps you taste it.


During the 1930s, the Saturday Evening Post magazine carried a series called "Tugboat Annie."  The storyline was so popular that it became the basis for two movies.  There actually was a Tugboat Annie, but her real name was Thea Foss.  She and her husband Andrew were immigrants from Norway who arrived in Seattle, Washington in 1889.

Her husband was a boat-builder, and one day while he was away working in a shipyard, she purchased a beat-up old rowboat from a neighbor who was about to move away.  She paid $5 for it, fixed it up, and sold it for ten, and she liked that experience.  Who wouldn't?  She doubled her money.  And that meant, for a while, Thea continued to buy old boats, fix them up, and sell them.  And then one day she realized that she could actually make more money taking these rowboats and renting them to people who just wanted to spend a relaxing day on the water.  And that eventually led to the development of a sizable Foss fleet.

After a while, some of the boats began to be used to take people and supplies to the larger ships anchored in the harbor.  Little by little, Thea went out of the rowboat-rental business and into commercial maritime services.  Her husband stopped making boats for other people, and concentrated on the design and construction of boats for Thea.  He developed the teardrop design that eventually became the world's standard for tugboats.  These days, the Foss Tug Company is one of the most important organizations in the business, operating on a worldwide basis.  To honor their contribution to maritime history, Thea and Andrew have been inducted into the Maritime Hall of Fame.

Now, quite frankly, I came on board to track down a story.  For years I had been hearing that the men and women who work on tugboats are real serious about good food, and that there is some fabulous cooking going on right here on the tugs.  Well, the first indication that I had that this story might actually be true was quite obvious:  Foss has their own cookbook.

Then when I came on board, I could easily see that the largest space on the boat after the engine room was the cooking area ... a good sign.  Finally, I tasted cook Joe Goodman's seafood stew.

Joe starts by putting a little melted butter into a frying pan, adding a chopped onion, two chopped stalks of celery, and cooking that for two minutes.  While that's cooking, two Washington State russet potatoes get peeled and cut into small cubes.  The potatoes go into a stock pot along with a cup of clam juice and a 14 and a half ounce can of chicken stock.  The pot goes onto the heat until the stock comes to a boil, and it's kept boiling until the potatoes are cooked.

While that's happening, Joe takes a piece of halibut, slices off the skin, and cuts it into bite-size pieces.  He also cleans a pound of shrimp and slices them in half lengthwise.  The cooked celery and the onions go into the stock pot for five minutes of heat.  Two 12-ounce cans of evaporated milk go in, plus two cups of chopped clams, the shrimp, the halibut, and three cups of fresh oysters.  A little thyme, a little pepper, a little stirring.  Five minutes of cooking, into a bowl, some parsley, and it's ready to serve.


Fish stew's ready on the fan-tail.

Seattle's Olympic Hotel opened in 1924.  Its construction had been financed by 4,500 individuals as a community effort; they felt that it was important for the city to have a great hotel.  And ever since then, the Olympic Hotel has been special to the residents of Seattle, especially these days.  $16 million were recently spent on its restoration.  The general manager is Peter Martin, and now the hotel is known as the Four Seasons Olympic.

The hotel has three interesting restaurants:  the Garden Court, which is a pleasant, airy space where they serve lunch and English tea; Shucker's, a popular oyster bar with an extensive selection of beers from Northwest micro-breweries; and the Georgian, which has been described by a national food magazine as, and I quote, "an impressive showcase of culinary talent."  Well, I'm not exactly sure what all of those words mean, but if they're trying to say that the chef is a very good cook, you're absolutely right.

The hotel's executive chef is Kerry Sear, and he's well-known as one of the most talented chefs in the country.  His artistry starts with his own drawings of the dish he is about to create.  And though his menus are packed with a fine selection of meats, his own diet is vegetarian, and today he's going to prepare a series of vegetable recipes.  The first is a lasagna made with spaghetti and asparagus.

A little vegetable oil goes into a saucepan, and a tablespoon of chopped garlic; a quarter-cup of chopped onion; a quarter-cup of chopped fresh basil; two cups of chopped tomato; a half-cup of water; and a little fresh pepper.  That simmers together for 15 minutes.  Two pounds of pre-cooked Washington State asparagus go into a heatproof pan.  A layer of tomato slices goes on top, then a layer of pre-cooked spaghetti, some grated mozzarella cheese, a few spoonfuls of ricotta cheese, a layer of the tomato sauce, another layer of each of the ingredients.  Then into a 375-degree oven for 45 minutes.  When it's finished, the serving goes into a bowl and it's ready to eat.

Cool nights, warm days; clean, clear water; mineral-rich volcanic soil:  conditions that make Washington State the ideal place to grow asparagus.  Washington State has about four hundred farmers who are dedicated to growing asparagus, and they produce about 100 million pounds of asparagus each year.  Most Washington asparagus have tips that are purple, which indicates a high sugar content, and explains their sweet flavor.

The ancient Greeks and Romans considered asparagus to be a gastronomic delight, but they also valued asparagus in terms of its medical properties.  And, boy, were they right on.  These days scientists are telling us that asparagus contains a compound which is one of our most powerful cancer blockers.  Asparagus also contains folic acid, which is very important to proper cell growth, especially during pregnancy.

Look for spears with closed and compact tips and a firm stalk; those are the signs of freshness.  And pick out spears of the same size, so they will cook evenly.  Plump spears are the most tender.  The best way to store asparagus is in a moist paper towel inside an open plastic bag -- but not for long; it's best to eat asparagus the same day you buy it.  And keep the cooking time short:  five minutes of steaming should do the trick.

The Native American tribes called it Fire Mountain, and on May 18th, 1980, it lived up to its name.  After two hundred years of snoozing, Mount St. Helens woke up in a terrible mood and blew its stack.  The eruption caused over one billion dollars worth of damage and sent out clouds of ash that circulated around the globe.  Those clouds of ash had a silver lining for the potato farmers of Washington State.  For millions of years this part of the world has had active volcanoes.  As they erupted they deposited layer upon layer of volcanic ash... ash that is packed with valuable nutrients.  As a result, the potatoes grown in Washington State have an extraordinary high level of nutrients. 

For years I have used baked potatoes as a snack food.  I wash it off.  Rub a little oil on it.  Put it into a four hundred degree oven for an hour.  When it comes out I wrap it up and put it into the refrigerator where it will hold properly for a couple of days.  When I want one I take it out put it into the microwave for two minutes and it's ready.  I have a diet and exercise program that was specifically designed to control my high blood pressure, so a low-fat, high-potassium snack like this is absolutely perfect.  I don't want to blow my stack like Mount St. Helens.

Washington potatoes are put to excellent use in Kerry Sear’s vegetarian burger.  He starts by putting a little vegetable oil into a hot frying pan and following that with a sliced onion, glove of minced garlic, a cup of chopped pre-cooked beets - canned beets are fine - some grated yellow zucchini, carrots, dill, parsley, green zucchini and turnips.  All that cooks down for about five minutes.  And in goes some rolled oats and some fresh pepper.  A few more moments of cooking your mixture is turned out into a bowl.  At which point, two cups of mashed Washington State potatoes are blended in.  It's formed into patties and pan-fried in a little vegetable oil for three minutes on each side.  Everything has actually been cooked... the pan-frying is just done to develop a nice crust.  Ketchup goes onto a bun.  A little mustard and the veggie burger.

One of the most common shell beans in the United States is the baby lima bean.  It is named after the capital city of Peru, where they have been growing baby limas for over six thousand years.  And even now the name of that city is spelt L-i-m-a just like the bean it is pronounced “Lema,” not “Lima.”  So if you are ever in Peru and you need some baby lima beans it's important to remember to ask for Lemas.  Lima lovers need to know that. 

These days, however, baby limas no longer come from Lima.  Most of them come from California.  The dried variety is high in complex carbohydrates, protein and dietary fiber.  They're low in saturated fat and sodium and they're easy to prepare.  First thing you want to do is look through the beans and make sure that no small stones have come in with them from the field.  Wash off the limas and put them into a large pot.  Remember that dried lima beans will increase by at least twice their volume when they finish absorbing water.  Then pour in ten cups of hot water for every pound of beans.  Bring the water to a boil and let it boil for three minutes.  Then turn off the heat and let the beans soak for one to four hours.  At that point, you drain off the water that the beans soaked in and they're ready for a soup or a casserole or a salad.

Seattle's Pike Place Market opened up in 1907.  The basic idea behind the operation was very simple.  Local farmers wanted to have a place where they could sell their produce directly to the public without price increases from middlemen.  The farmers would get more money for their crops and the consumers would get lower food prices.  The idea worked so well that within a few months there were over two hundred farmers renting space.  The market continued to expand as a public source of good food, but it also began to develop as a social center.  It did particularly well during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when people were looking for both low food prices and a place to just hang out. 

Everything worked fine until the end of the Second World War.  That's when people began to move to the suburbs and shop in supermarkets.  At one point, it even looked like they were going to sell this area to a group of commercial real estate developers who had a vision of a modern commercial shopping area.  Well, the people of Seattle just would not stand for that and so they formed a grass roots committee and began a "save the market" campaign.  And that is exactly what they did. 

In 1971, the citizens of Seattle voted overwhelmingly to place the market under public ownership with the clear object of preserving and restoring it to its former glory.  I like that.  Hopefully when I get on in years someone will be interested in preserving and restoring me, too. 

Roy Fearing is with the preservation and development authority that oversees the markets operation.  He's the perfect person to give us a tour.

ROY FEIRING: Our farm tables are low stalls.  Our high stalls are high stalls.  And, and the way that we tell the difference around here is if you're eye to eye with an artichoke you're at a high stall. 

WOLF: Look how beautiful they're laid out.

FEIRING: Yeah.  And don't even think of distributing those.  Those are for display only.  You tell 'em what you want and you get the same product from behind.  You want an avocado, be sure and tell 'em when you're gonna eat it, because they'll pick one exactly ripe for you.  If you want it tonight, want it tomorrow, this weekend for a salad. 

Local berries, here's our pride.  Here's what really gets the city excited every year is when the berries are on.  They're the raspberries.  We usually have, say, two crops.  We have a fall crop of raspberries too, a little different.  These would be the real sweet summer berries, the early berries.  We have one grower does seven acres of blueberries and does nothing but make jam, chutney and blueberry vinegar out of 'em. 

Everyone has a speciality.  Cut flowers, dried flowers.  Here's “Piroschki Piroschki.”  This is all Russian pastry baked in the window.  Cooked in the oven and sold over the counter.

WOLF: Oh, I got to have one of those.

FEIRING: These people are immigrants from Russia.

WOLF: Yeah, I heard.

FEIRING: And they recently got a small business award.  And that's what the market's all about.  No businesses from outside can come into the market.  You have to start here and grow out.  You can't start outside and grow in. 

WOLF: What a wonderful idea that is.

FEIRING: It's a, it's an incubator.  Start-up, start-up place. 

Here's another food service.  This is a day- old bread store.  And we have... here on this, this... commercial corner which would probably support a very expensive jewelry store, we sell day-old bread.  Because serving the low-income people who live downtown is a mission.  It's a very important one.

WOLF: That was part of what the market was about from the very beginning.

FEIRING: That's right.  That's right.  So, being a non-profit agency managing the market, we have the luxury to be able to not be in it for the money, so we're in, we're in it for... the cultural opportunities, the nutrient opportunities.  We're here to fill people's needs and so it works out very well.

Cheese.  I think...we have something in the market something like a hundred kinds of cheese just from Great Britain.  I mean, it's... amazing. 

And on our right is the... Oriental Market where you'll find every kind of sauce, seasoning, noodles that you can imagine for Asian cooking.  Pakistani, Mid-Eastern spice store.  Speciality... and then over here we have the Bavarian meat store.  You remember the days when your local supermarket had one kind of mustard?

WOLF: Yes.

FEIRING: Here's a place where you can find dozens and dozens of different kinds of mustard.  This is...the...Italian grocery.  DeLorenti Speciality Food Market. This is a favorite with everyone in Seattle.  I think you’d best know what you're doing when you come into a store like this, right?  You can spend a hundred dollars and go home and not know what you have.  (LAUGHTER)

WOLF: But you know it's good.  (LAUGHTER)


WOLF: That’s something valuable. 

WOLF (new scene):  People who live in Seattle are always telling reporters like me to inform our audience that Seattle is cold and grey and overcast.  They just don't want anybody else to move here.  Well, I've been here for awhile.  I didn't see any more cold or grey or overcast than you'd see anyplace else.


WOLF: Please join us next time as we travel around the world looking for good things to eat.  I'm Burt Wolf.

Burt Wolf's Table: Miami - #213

BURT WOLF:  Miami, Florida, the spot where millionaires built their winter castles.  We'll tour the art deco paradise of South Miami Beach, visit a five-star hotel in Coconut Grove, and make a batch of cookies that you'll really get a kick out of.  This is the land of surf and turf, the return of Miami Spice.  So join me in Miami at Burt Wolf's Table.

BURT WOLF:  The first people to move into the Miami area were members of the Native American tribes who came here from Alaska.  I guess that made them the first snowbirds.  They lived wherever there was fresh water and had a pretty good life.  The idea of fun in the sun was attractive even fifteen thousand years ago.  The first European to pop in was Juan Ponce De Leon who showed up in 1513 looking for the Fountain Of Youth, a fantasy that still attracts people to the neighborhood.  The English and the Spanish fought over the area until the early years of the 1800's when it became part of the United States.  But not much really happened around here until the very last years of that century.

The railroad finally arrived in Miami in 1896 and that really started heating things up.  Miami became America's sun porch; the rich and famous started coming down from the north and building their winter homes.  Land speculators sold everything they could think of, including thousands of acres that were actually under water.  During the Second World War, Miami became a major training area for the military.  One out of every four officers in the air corps trained in Miami.  And when the war was over, many of them headed back.  During the 1950's it was the hottest vacation spot in the Western Hemisphere.  There were some difficult times in the 70's and 80's, but Miami has bounced back.

Get a good look at how Miami Vice has turned into Miami Nice, Al Guthrie of International Helicopter Service is giving us the grand tour.

I first saw Miami Beach during the 1940's and it was quite a piece of work.  My hotel faced out on a beach lined with palm trees.  The Atlantic Ocean was right in front of my door and I was swimming while my classmates back up north were bundling themselves up against the cold.  My Uncle Maxwell had taken me here for a Christmas vacation and I loved it.

During the 50's Miami Beach became one of the world's great centers of excess.  Hotels turned up their air conditioning as high as possible, so guests could wear their mink jackets to dinner.

The biggest names in the entertainment world played the clubs, and “The Great One,” Jackie Gleason, broadcast his weekly TV series from a Miami Beach studio.

JACK BENNY:  Let me tell you what he had for lunch, you won't believe it, he had a shrimp cocktail, right?  He had a little small green salad...


JACK BENNY:  ... and ...  and an apple, isn't that right? 

JACKIE GLEASON:  Positively right. 

JACK BENNY:  Of course, the apple was in a pig's mouth...

BURT WOLF:  In the 70's things began to decline and Miami Beach fell into a state of tragic deterioration.  Miami Beach, however, has had more comebacks than Peggy Lee and it’s in the middle of one right now.

Today South Miami Beach is known as So Be, developers are calling it the American Riviera, and the celebrities are coming back.  Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to renovate the hotels and apartment buildings in the area.  Oceanfront cafes are packed, and the restaurants are the hottest on the East Coast.  One of the most important maitre’ds in New York City came down and opened up Cassis.  This is a community that eats out every night.  Of the city's top ten restaurants, half are on the beach.  A number of major modeling agencies have moved in and the entire area has become a set for photographers.  In 1979, a hundred and twenty-five block area was designated as the art deco district and entered into the National Register Of Historic Places.  They are the only twentieth-century buildings to be given that honor.

The art deco style got started at the turn of the century; the objective was to blend together the designs of decorative artists with the technology of mass production.  A lot of the details were taken from ocean liners that were popular during the period.

Over five hundred art deco buildings were constructed on Miami Beach; almost all of them went up during the Great Depression of the 1930's.  Part of the objective of the designers was to make people feel better about their environment.  Pastel colors were used, lots of racing stripes.  Round windows like those on ships.  Decorative designs that reminded everyone that they were in the tropics.  The particular style used on the beach became known as “tropical deco” and it feels as good today as it did back then.

Miami Beach is surrounded by the warm waters of the Atlantic.  Home for bathing beauties, boating enthusiasts, and some of the world's best seafood. 

The most famous local speciality is probably the stone crab.  Stone crabs are found all along the East Coast from North Carolina to Mexico.  But they're only taken commercially in Florida.  Stone crabs have an amazing ability:  they can lose a claw and grow it right back.  It's an adaptive survival process; when an enemy grabs ahold of a claw, the stone crab just gives it up and takes off.  But each of those claws can exert over thirteen thousand pounds of pressure per square inch.  They use that pressure to crack the shell of oysters, which is their favorite food.  When Florida fishermen harvest stone crabs, they bring them up, break off a claw and toss them back.

The restaurant that put stone crabs on the gastronomic map is called Joe's Stone Crab.  And it sits on the southern tip of Miami Beach.  It's only open from October to May, which just happens to be the stone crab season.  The restaurant serves almost a ton of crab every day.  Because the meat is so rich, there are only three to five claws to a serving.  And that's more than enough.  They come with a light mustard sauce, cole slaw and fried sweet potatoes.

Joe's Stone Crab is the oldest restaurant on Miami Beach.  It got started in 1913 when Joe and Jenny Weiss moved here from New York City.  They bought a bungalow on South Beach, cooked inside and served on the front porch.  Today it's in its own sprawling building, one of the most successful restaurants in the world.  And it is now training the fourth generation of Joe's family.

Steven Saurwitz is Joe's great-grandson and he's working with me to adapt for home use their famous recipe for key lime pie.

Start by mixing together one and quarter cups of crushed graham crackers, a quarter cup of sugar and a third of a cup of melted margarine.  Press that into a nine-inch pie pan to form a crust.  Bake that for 10 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven.  While that's baking, mix together 28 ounces of sweetened condensed milk, five egg yolks, one cup of lime juice and the zest of one lime.

A couple of lime tips:  these days we raise our limes for shipping qualities as well as juicing qualities.  But when you get them home they're usually kind of tough.  What you want to do is squeeze them and break up the inside fiber or roll them on a hard surface.  If you do that you will get about twice as much juice out of them.  Also when you're zesting them, you want just the green outside surface, it’s a very thin skin.  If you get the white connective tissue right under that skin, it will be bitter.

Take the crust out of the oven, pour the filling into it, then back into the oven for 10 minutes more.

When it comes out of the oven, it goes into the freezer for at least one hour and then it’s ready to serve.

Just south of Downtown Miami is an area known as Coconut Grove.  The first settlers came in before the Civil War, but not much happened until the late 1880's, at which time Miami's very first hotel opened for business.  The prestigious Biscayne Bay Yacht Club came into existence.  James Deering, the man who made his millions with the International Harvester Company, built himself a seventy room Italian Renaissance mansion which he called Vizcaya.  These days it’s operated as a museum for Deering's collection of fifteenth and sixteenth century art.  Coconut Grove has one of the oldest homes in the area, built in 1891.  Its called The Barnacle, because its steep hipped roof is shaped like a barnacle.  Coconut Grove has been able to hold onto its past while incorporating the latest fashions.  The main street is lined with sidewalk cafes and boutiques and has much if not more street life than any other part of town. 

Coconut Grove is the site of Miami's first hotel and these days, its also the site of Miami's most elegant hotel, the Grand Bay.  Its the first of the CIGA hotels in the United States.  CIGA stands for The Italian Company Of Grand Hotels,  which is a pretty good description.  CIGA operates some of the grandest hotels in the world, including the Danielli that opened up in Venice in the 1300's.   You know, when you've been in business for 700 years, you pick up these little tips that make your hotel special. 

The Grand Bay in Coconut Grove is true to the tradition.  It’s the only Mobil five-star hotel in Florida.  Shaped like a Mayan temple, it looks out on beautiful Biscayne Bay.  A bright red Alexander Liebermann sculpture marks the entrance.  The public rooms are decorated with a collection of art and antiques, and the staff has been trained to the top European standards of CIGA.  The penthouse is occupied by Regine's Nightclub, which is available to hotel guests, as well as its private members.  For me, one of Grand Bay's most unique and valuable works is Katsuo Sugura.  Nicknamed Suki, he was chosen by Food and Wine Magazine as one of America's top new chefs.  Born in Japan and trained throughout Europe and the U.S., Suki makes art to eat.  This is his recipe for grilled Florida shrimp.

Jumbo Florida shrimp are peeled and cleaned. 

SUKI:  Well, shrimp is not very difficult to peel it, but not many people realize there is an end of the tail, there is a very pointed end to the shells.  I always take it out and because this is safer and sometimes hurting people for infected fingers.

BURT WOLF:  A marinade is made from a half cup of vegetable oil, the zest of an orange, the zest of a lime, a tablespoon of minced basil, thyme and parsley and a tablespoon of minced garlic.  All that gets mixed together and the shrimp get set into it for two to three hours. 

While the shrimp are resting in the marinade, Chef Suki sautes a few vegetables.  Slices of fennel, zucchini, hearts of artichoke, a little crushed garlic.  Slices of red bell pepper and a little salt and pepper.  Finally a splash of balsamic vinegar.  That cooks down for a minute, a vinaigrette sauce is made from a little oil, orange juice concentrate.  Grapefruit concentrate.  Lime juice, honey and mustard.  The shrimp come out of the marinade and are grilled for two minutes on each side.  The vegetables go onto the plate, then the shrimp, a little of the vinaigrette sauce on top.  Chef Suki's choice of Florida shrimp for his recipe is part of a long tradition in this state. 

Seafood is a billion dollar business in Florida with fisherman bringing in over a hundred different varieties.  Each area along the state's coast has a different seafood character and each has worked to the advantage of the seafood lover.  Commercial fishing is actually Florida's oldest industry.

The original Spanish colonists to arrive here in he 1500's started the practice.  They caught the fish in the waters around Florida, dried them, salted them and sold them to Havana and the other Spanish colonies in the West Indies.  Their biggest season was lent, when the Spanish Catholics gave up eating meat.  But the biggest breakthrough for Florida fishermen didn't come until 1950 when they discovered pink shrimp in the deep waters of the Tortugas.

The quality of the product is so high that it is almost always the first choice of chefs.  It’s also a good choice for a heart-healthy diet.  Shrimp is low in overall fat as well as saturated fat. 

Shrimp has some cholesterol, but remember, scientists are telling us that it’s fat, particularly saturated fat that's a problem.  Prepare your shrimp with a low-fat recipe and you're in good shape.

Florida's seafood industry goes back to the Spanish colonists of the 1500's.  And so does its involvement with cattle.  The state has a five hundred year history in surf and turf.

When the Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon made his second voyage to Florida in 1521, he brought the first cattle onto land that would eventually become part of the United States.  Which makes Florida the oldest cattle-raising state in the country. 

It's still a major cattle producing area, but the cattle that's being produced these days reflects the desire of the cattlemen to meet the interests of the consumer. We all want a diet that's lower in fat, so the cattlemen are using breeding and feeding techniques that produce an animal that's lower in fat.  But the cut of beef you choose in the market has a lot to do with the fat content.  The easiest way to remember which cuts are low in fat, is to remember the words “round” and “loin.”  The butcher might mark the package “round tip” or “eye of round,” or “top round.”  Loin could be “top loin,” or “sirloin,” or “tenderloin.”  As long as you see the words “round” or “loin,” you are buying a lean cut of beef with about a hundred and eighty calories in a three-ounce serving.  Beef is one our best sources of iron, which is the nutrient most often lacking in the diets of adult women and young children.  Its also a good source of zinc, niacin and vitamin B12.

When someone's described as “a real Florida cracker,” it usually means that they are country folk, or that they were born in the state.  But the phrase “cracker” actually goes back a couple of hundred years to the early Florida cowboys.  When they would move their herds around, they were assisted by an eighteen-foot-long rawhide whip.  They would use that whip to make a cracking sound and the cracking sound would scare stray animals back into the herd.  The cattlemen of Florida have been raising cattle for almost five hundred years, and the chefs in the state have the recipes and the skills to prove it. 

Chef Suki at the Grand Bay Hotel makes the point with grilled beef tenderloin.  First the marinade is made.  Three tablespoons of oil go into a bowl, some minced onion, fresh ginger, curry powder, lime juice and honey.   Small medallions of beef are sliced from a tenderloin and placed into the marinade for about thirty minutes.  While the beef is marinading, a sauce is made by heating together a little vegetable oil, some chopped shallots, white wine, pureed mango, sugar water, and beefstock.  The tenderloin is removed from the marinade and grilled for a minute on each side.  The steak goes onto the plate, a little candied fresh ginger on top and finally, the sauce.

Chef Suki made good use of the honey in that dish, which fits in perfectly with Florida's agricultural history.

Florida is the top honey-producing state in the nation, with beekeepers producing about twenty-one million pounds of honey each year.  And when you realize that one hive of bees has to fly over fifty-five thousand miles and tap two million flowers just to product a single pound of honey, you're talking about some serious activity.  And yet the average worker bee can make only one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in her entire lifetime.  And just in case you're concerned about American competitive productivity, I want you to know that the worker bees in Japan don't make any more honey.  We have about three hundred different varieties of honey, and what variety it is, is dependent on what kind of flower the bee drew its nectar from.  Some of them are clear, almost colorless and they have a very mild flavor.  They range all the way to a very rich dark brown and they have a much more robust taste.  The beekeepers of Florida produce two of the country's most unusual premium honeys.  Orange blossom and Tupelo.  Tupelo is a tree that grows in the northern part of the state and gives a mild and mellow taste to the honey.  One of my favorite uses for honey is to make a honey mustard yogurt sauce.  Its great for meat, fish, poultry and vegetables .  I take a quarter of a cup of honey, a quarter of a cup of mustard and I mix it together with a full cup of low fat yogurt.  Taste great, low in fat;  it’s a honey of a sauce.

The Bible describes the Promised Land as a place flowing with milk and honey.  And milk and honey are often coupled together in ancient myths.  One of the reasons for this is that of all the foods that we eat, only milk and honey are produced by other animals as food for their own species.  And milk and honey are probably the two foods in ancient times that were eaten and did not destroy life when they were eaten.  Whether it’s flowers or fish, once we eat it, the life is over. 

Bees have been producing honey for over fifteen million years.  And people have been eating honey for over three million. 

Paintings on the tombs of the Ancient Egyptians show that they were skilled beekeepers.  They treasured honey, and actually used it to pay their taxes.  Egyptian bridegrooms were required to give large amounts of honey to their brides at the time of their wedding.

The association between honey and marriage goes back for thousands of years.  The Ancient Babylonians made a drink called mead.  It was made from fermented honey and water, and it was the official drink at Babylonian weddings.  After the wedding, the parents of the bride were required to supply the newlyweds with a sufficient amount of mead to last them a lunar month.  And that's where the word “honeymoon” comes from. 

Man's three-million-year-old love affair with the honey bee is not just based on sweetness.  Honey bees pollinate our crops and make much of our agriculture possible.  The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that one third of the food that we eat in the United States  benefits from pollination.  Ralph Russ is a beekeeper here in the state of Florida; an expert on pollination and an expert on honey.  How does this work?

RALPH RUSS:  Well Burt, today we're going to look into a colony of bees and see where this comes from.  We put a little smoke on them.

BURT WOLF:  Why do you do that?

RALPH RUSS:  Well that calms the bees. They think they're home’s on fire, and they gorge their stomachs with honey.

BURT WOLF:  That slows them down?

RALPH RUSS:  That ... that slows them down.

BURT WOLF:  Yeah, my kids slow down when they're gorged too.

RALPH RUSS:  Now this is called a honey super, this is where they store their surplus honey.  Inside we find these frames.  They're covered with wax caps and their each little cell is like a little container.

BURT WOLF:  The honey is their food?

RALPH RUSS:  The honey is their food.  And we'll go into the ... we'll call this a brood chamber.

BURT WOLF:  Wow.   Look at that.

RALPH RUSS:  Look at the bees.

BURT WOLF:  How many bees are on there?

RALPH RUSS:  Well there's about thousand bees on this side.


RALPH RUSS:  And this is the baby bees here, we call that brood.  Here's the queen.

BURT WOLF:  Right.

RALPH RUSS:  See here she's bigger than the others.

BURT WOLF:  And she has that yellow dot.

RALPH RUSS:  (OVERLAPPING) And ... and I put that dot on her so I can find her when I go into the colony.

BURT WOLF:  How do you get the honey out?

RALPH RUSS:  Put it into a centrifuge and spin it out.

BURT WOLF:  It spins around, shoots the honey out.

RALPH RUSS:  Throws the honey off of the wall and it drains out into a container.

BURT WOLF:  The Miami Dolphins are one of the most successful teams in the National Football League and a big reason for that was their superstar punter Reggie Roby.   He continues to rank as one of the top ten kickers in NFL history.  But Reggie also gets his kicks from his own line of cookies.

BURT WOLF:  How did that cookie come about?

REGGIE ROBY:  I'm sort of what you'd call a cookie monster, what my wife calls me.  I asked her to make me cookies one night, she didn't want to do it.  So I got up and I made a cookie recipe and it came out good.  And I said, well you know, I ... I could probably do this, you know.  So what I did, I called my mother back in Iowa and got a plain sugar recipe, I took that recipe and I came up with four different type of cookies over a ... maybe a two month period, and since then I've got rave reviews from everyone.  I assume they like it, maybe they don't, they do, maybe it's because of my size, they don't want to insult me.  But I figured, you know, they like it well enough.  So it turned out pretty good.

BURT WOLF:  Okay, Reggie -- let’s get out there and bake!

Alright listen up -- here's how this one works.  Flour straight in, sugar straight in, brown sugar in behind it, baking soda in behind it, eggs in behind it, butter straight ahead, sour cream back here, chocolate chips back here, vanilla out on the flank, you got it?

Okay, here's how we handle it.  First out of the huddle and into the bowl, flour, two and a half cups.  Take your regular all-purpose approach, you know what I mean.  Next, white sugar, three quarters of a cup and mix it up in there, mix it up!  Third down:  brown sugar, again three quarters of a cup.  Pack it tightly, tight until the end.  And make the move to the baking powder -- make it gently, it's powerful stuff, a teaspoon's enough.  That should open up the center for the eggs, send them right in, two of them, one high, one low. Then the butter shoots in, three quarters of a cup.  (WHISTLE)

REF:  Fifteen yard penalty, unnecessary use of saturated fat.

REGGIE ROBY:  You've got to be kidding!  It’s a cookie!

BURT WOLF:  Hm.  Good point Reggie, everything's okay in moderation.  Alright, a quarter of a cup of sour cream comes in from the right flank, a teaspoon of vanilla develops the play’s flavor and we break free with twelve ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Huh?  Great idea.  Pile that batter onto a cookie sheet, but watch out for your spacing -- these guys spread out like crazy.  You don't want any unnecessary contact.  Then ten minutes at 375 degrees, and it's all over but the chewing. (CHEERS)

For over twenty years the coach of the Miami Dolphins has been Don Shula.  He's led the team to over three hundred victories and is the winningest coach in the NFL still on active duty.  And he's not just a coach, he's a culinarian, with two restaurants in Miami Lakes, Florida.  The latest to open is Shu's All-Star Cafe.  The theme of the cafe is “The Winning Edge,” and the Historical Association of South Florida has put together a collection of winning moments in South Florida's sports that hang on the cafe's walls.  The Chef, Dan Harry, is a good sport too; he's even willing to share his recipe for blueberry purses.       Blueberries are simmered together for five minutes together with some allspice, orange zest and juice.  A little water and cornstarch are added.  Four sheets of phyllo dough are buttered, layered together and cut into quarters.  A little cinnamon, mascarpone cheese and the blueberries go on.  The dough is shaped into a little purse and twisted at the neck to stay closed.  Onto a baking sheet, into a 375 degree oven for five minutes, out, onto a serving plate with a garnish of powdered sugar.

Miami is a sub-tropical city; it's as close to the equator as the Sahara Desert.  You know, for many years Miami was thought of as a gastronomic desert.  Things have changed.  Today the food in Miami is as interesting, varied and exciting as the food in any U.S. city, and it has a lot to show us about the relationship of good food to good health. 

Please join us next time as we travel around the world looking for things that taste good and are good for you too.  I'm Burt Wolf.

Burt Wolf's Table: Seattle - #210

BURT WOLF:  Seattle, Washington.  It's a town that's been able to preserve much of its past while building for its future.  We'll discover why the people of Seattle drink more top-quality coffee than anyone else in the U.S. and how America became a country of coffee drinkers.  We'll visit the most successful herb farm in the northwest and cook along with some of the area’s best chefs.  So join me in Seattle at Burt Wolf's Table.

The geography of the northwestern corner of the United States is dominated by a large body of water called Puget Sound.  It starts at the Pacific Ocean and cuts into the state of Washington for over 100 miles.  At its eastern end is the city of Seattle, which has often been described as one of the most livable cities in North America.

One reason that the city is so well thought of and perhaps the most important one, is the sense of civic pride.  The citizens of Seattle have been relatively successful as preserving their city.  They've held onto many of their most important structures and kept them in a state of good repair.  They have been able to defeat the type of urban planning that has obliterated the historical character of many American cities.  As a result, Seattle looks good and feels good.

Seattle has a program that directs one percent of the cost of a public construction project to artwork.  Artists have even brought their talent to the design of the town's manhole covers.  But the creative community is not just limited to painters and sculptors.  Seattle has become one of the most important centers for music, theatre, and literature.  And its film and television business is very busy competing with Vancouver for the title of Hollywood North.

The city of Seattle is shaped by the shores of Puget Sound and that is true in many different ways.  Seattle's docks are the closest North American docks to Japan, which has made the city an important commercial port. 

The accessibility to the sea has also made water sports a major area of recreation.  And the contours of the sound have turned the area's island and inlets into Seattle suburbs... thousands of people commuting to work on ferries. 

Down the road is Pioneer Square, clearly worth exploring.  There's the Merchant's Cafe which once sold beer to gold rush miners at 5 cents a glass.  Lots of art galleries and craft shops and book stores, including my personal favorite, the Elliot Bay Book Company.  Old books, new books, newspapers and magazines.  A place to just sit and read, and a cafe.  Hey, plus they had copies of my book.

This is an old trick for authors.  If you autograph a book while it's still in the bookstore, they will never return it to the publisher and you'll get your royalty.  Hey, every penny helps.  I paid for three kids to go to college and just when I thought I was going to have a few extra bucks, I find out that I'm going to help pay off the national debt, which is fine, but I think with all of the money they have in Washington, they could have hired one bookkeeper who would have told us the truth.

And there's the Smith Tower.  When it opened in 1914, it was the tallest building in the west.  And it held that title for many years.  The guy who built this building was L.C. Smith.  He had made his fortune as the Smith in Smith and Wesson, the gun manufacturers.  When he retired from Smith and Wesson and came out here, he started a second company and became the Smith in Smith Corona, the typewriter guys.  I guess he liked to make things with little moving hammers, huh?

Seattle has a large international district which is really a pan-Pacific community with lots of good restaurants serving food from Thailand,  Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia and Japan, as well as China.

Seattle is one of the first cities in the world to introduce free public transportation.  Just hop on board and head off.  It's faster than going by car, ecologically more responsible and perfectly priced. 

BURT WOLF:  The first European settlement in the Seattle area was built by a group of fur traders.  They bartered goods with the Native Americans and did a little trading.  The discovery of gold in California in 1849 brought hundreds of thousands of immigrants to the west coast of the United States.  In those days, it was not uncommon for a group of people to get together and plan a totally new city.  Some entrepreneurial settlers would group up, stake a claim to some land, develop a plan for a new city, and then do everything they could to get other people to buy into their dream.  They were kind of the Donald Trumps of the time.

In the case of Seattle, the first developer was David Denny, who arrived here with a group of twenty-odd people in September of 1851.  Denny was soon joined by three other visionaries: Charles Boren, William Bell and Dr. David Maynard.  Together they worked out the grand plan for the city that was to be.

One of Doc Maynard's friends was a Native American chief named Sealth, sometimes pronounced “Seattle.”  And it was the Doc's suggestion that the new city be named after his pal. 

The next heavy to arrive in town was Henry Yesler who built a saw mill and made lumber the area's major industry.

To get the logs from the top of the hill to the water below, a road was built and covered with wood.  The wood helped the logs skid down easily.  It was called a skid road.  Eventually it became a hang-out for drunken loggers and miners at the bottom of their luck.  At which point it became known as Skid Row, a phrase which is now synonymous with the down and out neighborhood of any city in North America. 

During the second half of the 1800s, the local Native Americans began to realize what the settlers were doing to the area and there was an uprising that was quickly put down by the U.S. military.  The leader of the uprising, a man named Leschi was tried for murder.  His lawyer was named Crosby.  Crosby lost the trial and Leschi lost his life. 

Eventually, Leschi became a local hero and today one of Seattle's most popular parks is named after him.  Crosby didn't do too badly either.  He ended up being the father of Bing.

BING CROSBY:  Oh, hello, Father.

PRIEST:  Hello, Bing.

BURT WOLF:  Meanwhile, up in Alaska, gold was getting ready to be discovered.  When word of the Yukon gold hit the newspapers in 1897, Seattle became the jumping-off point for thousands of miners.  In one year, the sales of the Seattle merchants went from under $500,000 to over $25 million.  This place was hustling.  And Seattle became the center for trade and commerce in the northwestern part of the United States.

One of the first things that you notice about Seattle is the town's unusual interest in coffee.  Seems like every available space has been given over to the selling of coffee.  There are hundreds and hundreds of coffee shops and coffee carts all over the town.  Even when you go into a store that has almost nothing to do with coffee, you'll find a coffee bar to welcome you into the space.  It's Mocha Madness.

The relationship between the United States and coffee makes a rather interesting story.  A story that actually began in London.  During the 1700s London was clearly a coffee-drinking town. 

The town had over 2,000 coffee houses and drank more coffee than any other city.  So the first English colonists to arrive in the New World came with a love of coffee. 

Ultimately it was economics that made England and its American colonies into tea drinkers.  Until the American Revolution of 1776 that is.  Of all of the taxes that the King of England placed on the American colonies, none was more offensive than the tax on tea.  And that frustration eventually boiled over to the Boston Tea Party and shortly thereafter, a general boycott of tea drinking by the patriotic colonial housewife. And it was at that point that Americans began their love of coffee.

But the history of how people really eat and drink shows that politics plays a very small role in our food selection.  Price, on the other hand, is a powerhouse and constantly alters the way we eat.  So when the American Revolutionary War was over and cheap tea showed up, we went right back to drinking it.  So what happened?

Well, what happened was the War of 1812.  During that war, the price of tea shot up.  We went back to drinking coffee.  Only this time the coffee was coming in from Latin America.  It was very inexpensive and it was also very good.  When the War of 1812 ended, tea came back, but this time it was not that inexpensive and it wasn't very good.

In the early days tea had been selected for us by the great English tea houses.  Now it was coming to us from American shippers who were interested more in tonnage than in taste.  And we stayed with coffee.  Why drink a terrible cup of tea when you could get an excellent cup of coffee and at a lower price?  It was then and for that reason that we became a nation of coffee drinkers.  Over half a billion cups every day.

If you want to try and find a reason for Seattle's passion for coffee, you might look at a number of factors.  Seattle has a rather gray climate which tends to keep people indoors, stimulating themselves with hot coffee.  And you might give some credit to the large number of Seattle's creative artists who like to hang out in coffee houses.  But the most important element in the passionate relationship of Seattle to coffee is a company called Starbuck's.

It was started here in Seattle in 1971 as a small coffee roasting company with a few retail outlets serving freshly roasted coffee.  Today it is America's leading importer and roaster of specialty coffee with over 230 company-owned stores, making it the largest coffee retailer in North America.

The company is run by a man named Howard Schultz who very well may have coffee running through his veins.  He definitely has it in his heart and his mind.  Take a look at this.

It's a series of architectural-styled drawings that explain each of the drinks that are regularly served at Starbuck's.  Seattle's favorite is called the Latte; it's a shot of espresso with steamed milk and a quarter-inch of foamed milk on the top. 

If Howard is the vision, then Dave Olson is the taste.  Dave is the guy who travels around the world to make sure that Starbuck's gets the beans that it wants and that those beans will brew the coffee it loves.  Back from his annual trip around the equator, I thought I'd ask him how to make the perfect cup of coffee.  Dave ought to know.

DAVE:  This is a method that comes real close to approximating what we do in the tasting room with nothing but ground coffee, glass, stainless steel, and hot water.  One scoop, or two level tablespoons ...

BURT WOLF:  A scoop is two level tablespoons?

DAVE:  Correct.  Per six ounces of water.  So now I have the grounds ... add a little water ...

WOLF:  Fresh water?

DAVE:  Fresh water, hot ... just off the boil.

WOLF:  Okay.

DAVE:  Stir it to get the grounds good and wetted ... fill it up ... now we have to wait for about three to four minutes while the coffee steeps.  While we're doing that, I'll explain some of the benefits here.  All of the water and all of the coffee are mixed together for the duration of the extraction period, unlike a drip method where the water slowly drips through and only a little bit is actually doing the extraction.  So now we'll imagine that those four minutes have passed, simply push down, press the grounds to the bottom of the beaker ...

WOLF:  Could I have just poured the water and the coffee together in that ratio in any kind of a pot and then drained it out?

DAVE:  Yes, yes. 

WOLF:  So the plunger system is just to separate the grinds from the ...

DAVE:  That's a real convenient way to accomplish the whole process.  So now we have six cups of hot, fresh, Gold Coast blend, just like we see it in the tasting room for us to buy.  Cheers.

WOLF:  And once you have a great cup of coffee, you might be interested in having a great cookie to go along with it.  And if that is the case, I would like to suggest the Chocolate Hazelnut cookies of pastry chef Regis Bernard at Seattle's Four Seasons Olympic Hotel.

Regis starts by putting ten and a half ounces of butter into the bowl of an electric mixer, followed by three-quarters of a cup of confectioner's sugar.  That gets blended together.  At which point, in go a cup of ground hazelnuts, three teaspoons of cinnamon, five egg whites and a cup and a quarter of flour.  That batter gets piped out onto a parchment-covered baking sheet in four-inch strips.  And into a 350 degree oven for fifteen minutes.  When they come out, every other cookie is turned over and given a coating of raspberry jam.  Regis has chosen raspberry jam but quite frankly, you can use whatever jam or fruit preserve that you like. 

The second cookie goes on top to make a sandwich which is them dipped into melted chocolate.

In 1938, Lloyd Anderson and a group of Seattle friends who enjoyed mountain climbing were bemoaning the fact that they were having a difficult time buying quality outdoor equipment at a reasonable price.  And so they decided to form a cooperative.  Their first retail space was a few shelves and a gas station.  Today that cooperative is called Recreational Equipment, Inc., or REI.  And it's the largest cooperative in North America.  Over 3 million people belong to REI though anyone can actually shop there.  They sell everything from a tent that will help keep you alive on Mt. Everest to a sensible pair of shoes for taking a walk.  But their heart still belongs to the great outdoors and the spirit of natural adventure.

Climbing over rock is definitely one of the more challenging experiences.  It challenges your body and it challenges your mind and it challenges your equipment. 

I think my favorite piece of equipment at REI is the one-cup outdoorsman's espresso maker.  You put in water and coffee and you heat it up and the espresso comes out.  I can just see Sir Edmund Hillary reaching the top of Mt. Everest, turning to his trusted Sherpa companion and saying, “Tenzig, old man -- twist of lemon?”  I should point out however, that it only makes espresso.  No steamed milk.  So cappuccinos and lattes are out.  You've got to understand that mountaineering is tough.

I originally came into this store looking for a new jacket.  But the more I walked around, the more cooking equipment I saw.  Cooking equipment that would be perfect for people who never intend to go camping or would never get involved in the adventure sports.  At least not the kind you play outside. 

This is a cooking fork that I liked because it came tightly folded up for backpacking but then I could extend it to any length I wanted for barbecuing back home in the back yard. 

A single spice bottle that's divided inside so it holds six different seasonings.  You flip up the top on the seasoning you want.  Not bad.

If you don't cook very much or you have a very small kitchen, this set of nesting pots could be kind of interesting.  It opens up to give you three small frying pans, two sauce pans, and a mini stock pot. 

I like this pan.  Non-stick surface on the inside, very very light.  Ideal for backpackers.  But also very good for anybody who has a problem lifting a heavy pot or pan.  A while back I developed a calcium deposit in my left shoulder and I just couldn't lift my regular pots and pans.  They were just too heavy.  Something like this would have been ideal. 

And when you're traveling to a part of the world where you're concerned about the safety of the water supply like, say, New York City, this awesome water purifier.  You pour in a little bit of the water you are concerned about, close the cap, and pump it into this glass.  Out comes water that is safe to drink.  Amazing, my dear Watson.  You never know where you're going to find something to make your life safer.

Just east of the city of Seattle is a place called the Herbfarm.  It got started in 1972 when Bill and Lola Zimmerman purchased a small piece of land and started to get ready for Bill's retirement from the Boeing Aircraft Company. 

One day Lola noticed that she had a few extra potted herb plants in her garden.  She put them into a wheelbarrow and put the wheelbarrow by the side of the road.  She also put in a little jar asking people to buy them and to pay for them by putting their money in the little jar.  Well, at the end of the day, Lola came back and the herbs were all gone.  Ah, but the jar was full.

Lola repeated the process until the Herbfarm grew into a business that produced over a quarter of a million plants a year.  It has a wonderful restaurant that is regularly chosen by the people of Seattle as one of their favorites. 

There's a gift shop, a national mail order catalogue, and an herbal education program that holds classes.  And these days, over 80,000 people stop by each season.

The Herbfarm had really not grown very much until 1986.  That was the year that Lola's son Ron and his wife Carrie Van Dyke took over the operations of the business and put Ron's marketing talents to work. 

CARRIE:  We have many different culinary herbs.  Probably several hundred varieties of oreganos and thymes and mints and lavenders.  And we also have all sorts of other products, a lot of books and things which we carry in our shop that we can ship anywhere.

BURT WOLF:  Um, I can smell this.

CARRIE:  That's my favorite plant.  That's the Tuscan Blue Rosemary.  It's very hearty and it has just real lovely thick foliage.

WOLF:  Pungent.


WOLF:  And then there's the restaurant.  It was originally opened by Ron, who had no formal training as a chef but clearly knew how to cook. 

As the business grew, it became necessary for Ron to bring in a professional chef.  His choice was Jerry Traunfeld, who's going to prepare two of the restaurant's recipes.

The first is a delicious soup based on carrots.  Jerry starts his recipe for carrot soup by toasting two tablespoons of coriander seeds in a frying pan for three minutes.

TRAUNFELD:  I'm just shaking the coriander seeds in the dry pan because once they're toasted, they have a completely different sort of a flavor and fragrance.  Before they're toasted, you can hardly smell them at all.  And I want to get them like a nice medium brown.

BURT WOLF: The seeds are then ground and held aside.  A little vegetable oil is heated in a saucepan and a large sliced onion goes in.  That's cooked and stirred for about three minutes.  A minced clove of garlic goes in.  A teaspoon of minced ginger, a pound of sliced carrots, six cups of chicken stock, a little salt and four tablespoons of toasted coriander.

All that simmers together for forty-five minutes.  Just at the end of the cooking time, Jerry adds in a quarter cup of freshly chopped mint.

TRAUNFELD:  It's really important with herbs to add them at the right point in cooking.  And a lot of herbs sort of lose all of their essential oils when they've been boiled for a while.  So, I often like to add to a soup or a sauce, the herbs at the very end and then ... you really get that fragrance and the full impact of the herb.

WOLF:  Then the soup goes into a blender and is turned into a puree.  Back into the pot.  A little pepper, a little lemon juice and it's ready to plate. 

TRAUNFELD:  And I'm always going to taste the soup because some carrots are sweeter than others, so if you're using ... carrots are very sweet, you can add a little more lemon juice.  If your carrots aren't so sweet, you can add a little bit of sugar.

WOLF:  The soup goes into a bowl, followed by a garnish of creme fraish, or yogurt, and a few edible flowers.

Carrots were one the very first foods in the human diet.  They got their start in Afghanistan and moved out to both Europe and Asia.  When they were brought to North American by the early colonists, some of the seeds escaped from the gardens and became wild carrots.  You see them all along the roadsides in the form of Queen Anne's Lace.

These days, the cultivated carrot is getting the royal treatment because of its nutritional value.  It appears that carrots help protect us against heart disease and cancer. 

The state of California cultivates 60,000 acres with carrots so the country has a fresh supply of carrots all year long. 

There are, however, a few things about carrots that should be remembered.  In order to get the full complement of Vitamin A in a carrot, it should be cooked.  Five minutes of steaming, or five minutes in the microwave will do the trick.

The darker the orange color, the more beta carotene in the carrot.  If you purchase carrots with the green leaves on top, take them off when you get them home.  The leaves draw moisture from the roots. 

And finally, don't store carrots next to apples or pears or other fruits that give off ethylene gas as they ripen.  That gas can cause the carrots to be bitter.  The best way to store carrots is in the refrigerator in the same type of plastic bag in which you find them in the supermarket.  These days, it looks like a carrot a day will keep the doctor away.

Jerry's second recipe is for an Apple Shortcake.  He starts by taking the leaves of some fresh rosemary and chopping them.

TRAUNFELD:  It's one of my favorites.  It's very, very versatile.  And it's a wonderful ... used in desserts with fruit.  Sort of like an Italian influence, but it's great with ... especially things like apples and pears.  If you grow it yourself, it tends to be tender in the colder parts of the country, so you'd have to bring it inside or grow it in a greenhouse or a sunny window or something.  But if you live in a climate where it will live through the winter, it gets to be a huge shrub and you have more rosemary than you could ever want.

WOLF:  Two cups of flour go into a mixer, followed by a tablespoon of baking powder, a half teaspoon of salt, a little sugar, three tablespoons of the chopped fresh rosemary and six tablespoons of butter.  All that gets mixed together.  Then in goes three-quarters of a cup of cream and a single egg yolk.  That's the dough, which gets rolled out on a floured surface.  When it's a half-inch thick it gets cut into three-inch rounds.

The disks get placed on a baking sheet that's covered with a piece of parchment paper.  A wash of egg white gets painted on.  Followed by a sprinkling of brown sugar.

The rounds rest in the refrigerator for half an hour and then go into a 375 degree oven for twenty minutes.  At that point, the shortcakes come out of the oven to cool.  While that's happening, three apples get peeled, sliced in half and cored.

TRAUNFELD:  I usually use melon ballers to take the cores out of the apples.  It really works better than anything else I've ever tried.  And whenever you have to do huge amounts of something like cases of apples, you always find the easiest way to do it.

WOLF: If I'd only had a melon baller in the army, it would have changed my whole approach to peeling and coring apples.

Next, three quarters of a cup of sugar go into a frying pan that's been placed over a medium heat.  A few minutes of cooking will draw the moisture out of the sugar.  As soon as that happens, three tablespoons of butter go in, the apple halves, and a few sprigs of rosemary. 

Then into a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven.  Fifteen minutes later, the apples get flipped over and go back into the oven for fifteen more minutes of baking. 

The cooked shortcakes are sliced in half.  The apples come out of the oven and are removed from the pan. 

The pan goes back on the range and six tablespoons of cream are used to deglaze the apple drippings.  The sauce gets drained out and the plating begins. 

The bottom of the shortcake goes onto the plate, the half apple goes on, scoop of ice cream, some of the sauce, then the second half of the shortcake on top.

Seattle is clearly becoming one of the better food towns in North America.  Excellent ingredients, many of which are produced locally,  fine chefs, and a general population that truly appreciates good cooking.

Please join us next time as we travel around the world looking for foods that taste good and make it easier to eat well.  I'm Burt Wolf.

Burt Wolf's Table: Ellis Island - #205

BURT WOLF:  Ellis Island, in New York City's harbor:  where millions of immigrants got their first taste of American food, and in return, introduced their own cuisines to America.  We'll trace the gastronomic contributions of some of the groups that arrived here, and cook up some of their recipes ... from Irish lamb stew to Russian stuffed chicken.  So join me on Ellis Island, at Burt Wolf's Table.

For over fifty years, starting in 1892, Ellis Island in New York Harbor was the primary immigration center for the United States government.  During its peak years, 1900 to 1924, some 12 million people came through the Ellis Island facility.  They were common people who made an uncommon decision:  they wanted to be free ... free of the poverty, free of the persecution, and free of the despair which dominated their lives in their home countries.  And so they packed up everything that they could carry, which really wasn't very much, and headed to the United States of America.

Steamship companies saw the immigrants as profitable cargo ... cargo that actually loaded itself.  And that's the way these passengers were treated.  They traveled in a class of service called steerage, because the part of the boat where this human cargo was stored was the place that held the steering equipment on the old ocean liners.  Packed together in appalling conditions that were breeding grounds for disease, thousands of people died during the voyages.  But for those that made it, there was the Statue of Liberty and New York City.

The ships docked in the piers that lined Manhattan's shore.  If you were a first- or second-class passenger, officials from the U.S. Immigration Service would clear you while you were on board in your cabin, and you were free to begin your new life.  But if you had come over in steerage, you were loaded onto ferries and taken across New York Harbor to Ellis Island.  The staff at Ellis was charged with the responsibility to make sure that no one was granted entrance to the U.S. who had a contagious disease, or who could not earn a living and thereby might become a burden to the government.

In spite of the fact that Ellis Island was processing twice as many people as it was designed to handle, the staff here did a remarkable job.  The average immigrant was in and out of Ellis Island within five hours.  Medical exams were completed, stability interviews conducted; there was a place to change your old-country money into U.S. dollars, and a spot to buy railroad tickets if you were going on to some other part of the country.  If you were staying in the neighborhood, you went through a door marked "Push to New York."  On the other side was a ferry that would take you the last mile and a quarter of your journey to Manhattan.

Today over 100 million Americans, almost half the population of our country, can trace their heritage to someone who came through Ellis Island.

The Registry Room on Ellis Island was the primary inspection area for the millions of people who passed through this facility on their way to a new life in America.  In 1909, my grandmother stood in this room, holding my mother in her arms.  My mother was only a year old at the time.  It was here that my grandmother, and many other immigrants, had their first taste of American food.

There were soups and stews, breads, and for some reason, an enormous amount of stewed fruit, particularly prunes.  Breakfast offered coffee and bread and butter, and crackers and milk, but the crackers and milk were only for women and children.  Dinner was beef stew, potatoes, and rye bread.  There was herring, and supper was baked beans, stewed prunes, and more rye bread.  Obviously, this place was not planning on building its reputation based on its food.  Yet in comparison to what most of the immigrants had been eating on the voyage over, Ellis was a gastronomic paradise.

There were also a number of immigrant aid societies with full-time staff on the island, and their job was to help the people adjust to the New World.  Part of that adjustment was getting used to the new food.  This was where my grandmother had her first banana.  Unfortunately, nobody told her not to eat the skin.  Nothing's perfect.

The end of the 1800s found most of Eastern Europe in a losing battle with overpopulation.  An unworkable system of land division, and their antiquated farm technology, could not feed the exploding populace.  Austria, Hungary, Poland and Romania were in chaos.  Steamship companies made a special effort in these areas.  Posters were displayed in the towns; agents went from house to house.  The message was continually sent:  America was the promised land.  Catch the next boat for wealth beyond your wildest dreams.

In many cases, the men came over first, got jobs, and saved enough money to send tickets back for their family.  That's what my grandfather did.  And like many people who came here from Middle and Eastern Europe, he brought with him a great love of the foods of his native country.

Pastries and great desserts from Austria with whipped cream on everything; sweet pancakes; coffee throughout the day, not just at breakfast.  And along with his Russian friends, a passion for yogurt.  Cookies in dozens of shapes and sizes, and each with their own folkloric story.  Each of those foodways was either introduced to America, or developed here in some important way, by people who came through Ellis Island from Middle or Eastern Europe.

Lidia Bastianich was born in a part of the world known as Istria.  It's in the northeast corner of Italy, and at various times it's been part of Italy or Austria or Germany or Yugoslavia, depending on who had the biggest army at the time.  At the end of the Second World War, her family moved to the New York City district known as Queens.  Today, Lidia and her husband Felice own and run one of New York's finest restaurants.  It's called Felidia, which is the joining together of the names of Felice and Lidia.

The restaurant was recently chosen by a group of national food editors as one of the best Italian restaurants in America.  The place has a warm, country feeling, with Tuscan tiles and lots of wood paneling.  Lidia not only runs the restaurant, but also manages to lecture on cooking and write cookbooks.  La Cucina di Lidia takes you on a tour of northern Italian food and family life, and feeds you all along the way.  Today she's preparing a chicken dish which was a family favorite when she was a kid.

A little vegetable oil goes into a hot saute pan.  A chicken cut into eight pieces is cooked for about five minutes on each side, then drained on some toweling.  A little more vegetable oil goes into a pan; a minced onion; some chopped bacon; a few bay leaves; rosemary; chopped chicken livers; a few mushrooms; cloves; tomato paste; some chicken stock.  Ten minutes of cooking.  The sauce is strained over the chicken and served with a cornmeal porridge called polenta.

LIDIA BASTIANICH:  It's really a wonderful, intense dish, and the flavors that permeate this dish, that makes this dish really interesting, is the herbs, the sort of indigenous ... the rosemary and the bay leaf, which really sort of notes this Mediterranean area.  Of course, in here we have also cloves, and that is from the Venetian influence and their travels to the East ... the cloves were imported in.  And of course the polenta was the travels to the New World, that came back and that became such a great part, really a big part of the table of this area.

WOLF:  So it's a real family recipe.

BASTIANICH:  It's a family recipe.  You could do it in advance, because the stewing process of the chicken, it could stay there, you could reheat it when guests come and it's perfectly fine.  And, you know, you can just put it in the center of the table or plate it out, whatever you'd like.  It's really ...

WOLF:  I’m hungry!  (LAUGHS)

BASTIANICH:  Yeah.  It's really, really warm, a warm dish, a family dish.

WOLF:  Another simple dish with a warm, family feeling is Lidia's pasta with shrimp and leeks.  A little vegetable oil goes into a hot saute pan; then a half-pound of shrimp that have been shelled and cleaned.  One minute of cooking, then off the heat.  A new pan comes in.  Vegetable oil is added.  A few chopped shallots; a cup of sliced leeks.  Chicken stock.  Shrimps back in.  Fresh Italian parsley.  Pasta is cooked, drained, and added to the shrimp sauce.  Some freshly grated pecorino romano cheese and you're set.

New York City's Central Park was put together during the middle of the 1800s.  It's two and a half miles long and a half-mile wide.  The designers wanted to give visitors a sense of nature, but in a very controlled way.  They installed lengthy carriage drives, but they placed the turns in a pattern that prevented racing.  Looks natural enough, but the whole place is very carefully thought out.  Each year, some 13 million people and an assortment of animals pay the park a visit.  On the west side of the grounds, near 67th Street, stands an old building originally called the Sheepfold.  When it was constructed in the 1870s, it was home to a sheep herder and his 200 sheep.  The sheep mowed and fertilized the nearby lawn known today as the Sheep Meadow.  The sheep were shipped off to Brooklyn in the 1930s, and the Sheepfold buildings became the core of a restaurant called Tavern on the Green.

Designed by Warner LeRoy, Tavern is quite a place:  chandeliers with parts made for Indian princes; an extensive collection of gold and copper weathervanes; and great architectural details.  But in spite of this new and valuable exterior, the management of Tavern never forgets this building's humble beginnings.  They always have a lamb recipe or cheesecake on the menu.

Cooks in Europe have been preparing cheesecakes for thousands of years, but it took a group of dairymen of German ancestry, working in New York, to come up with cream cheese, the essential ingredient in New York cheesecake.  Here's how it's made by chef Mark Poidevin at Tavern on the Green.

A two-inch-deep, eight-inch-in-diameter baking pan gets buttered.  The inside is coated with crushed Oreo cookies with the icing removed.  Two pounds of cream cheese go into a bowl and is mixed together with a cup and a half of sugar.  In a second bowl, four eggs are beaten; a cup of sour cream goes in, plus three cups of heavy cream.  This is going to be the kind of recipe that is served in very small portions.

The cream mixture is blended together with the cream cheese.  The seeds of two vanilla beans go in, or you can use a half-teaspoon of vanilla extract.  As soon as that's smooth, it's poured into the baking pan and into a water bath in a 300-degree-Fahrenheit oven for 45 minutes.  Out of the oven, unmold onto a plate, and decorate with a light coating of sour cream and all the fresh strawberries that fit.

Next, Mark is going to show us another Tavern on the Green specialty:  a veal chop with a breading of grated pecorino romano cheese.  A center-cut veal chop is cut almost in half, opened up, and pounded between two sheets of plastic wrap until it's thin and roughly the size of the plate it will be served on.  First the textured side of the mallet is used to break up the muscles and make the meat even more tender than it already is; and then the flat side is used to give the meat a smooth finish.

A light seasoning of salt and pepper, a thin coat of flour, into a few beaten eggs, and finally a coating of a mixture that is half grated pecorino romano cheese and half bread crumbs.  Into a pan with some hot vegetable oil; three minutes of cooking on one side, then a flip and three minutes of cooking on the other.  Onto a serving plate with a garnish of lemon and both green and white asparagus.  This is a recipe that will also work perfectly well with chicken.

As the 1880s came to an end, Russia found itself in constant turmoil:  crops failing, agonizing poverty throughout a majority of the population, religious persecution.  No surprise that during the 50-year period starting in 1875, over two million Russians left their homeland and took passage to New York City.

When you talk about the food of Russia, you're actually talking about the food of more than 170 different ethnic groups, each clinging to their own individual food habits.  But there are a number of gastronomic traits that are accepted by all of those groups, and those were the traits that were brought here to the United States by immigrating Russians at the turn of the 20th century.

They all loved rich whole-grain breads, which were much healthier than the overly- processed white breads.  They chose water as their favorite drink, and liked to have it infused with bubbles; they were responsible for the development of the New York seltzer business.  They called it “the worker's champagne.”  They were masters at smoking fish and meat, and responsible for the introduction of pastrami to East Coast delicatessens.  They loved cooked fruits, and they also did a lot to repopularize the drinking of tea, which had fallen out of fashion with many groups out of the American Revolution -- remember the Boston Tea Party?

There's some really great cooking going on in Russian restaurants, but unfortunately those Russian restaurants aren't in Russia.  These days the best Russian cooking takes place in restaurants outside of Russia, like the Russian Tea Room in New York City.

For example, their stuffed chicken breasts with a bread-cube crust.  First a little vegetable oil goes into a pan.  A sliced onion, a few sliced mushrooms, a tablespoon of flour to help thicken things up.  A little red wine to make a sauce.  A few minutes of cooking, and you have the stuffing.

Chicken breasts with the skin off and the bone removed are sliced almost in half, opened, and pounded thin.  Dipping the pounder in a little cold water every few hits will keep the chicken from sticking to it.  The chicken is stuffed, rolled up, given a light coating of flour, dipped into a wash of eggs and milk, pressed into cubes of bread until there's a pretty complete coating, and cooked in a little vegetable oil to brown.  Then into a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes to finish off.  It's served over thin strips of vegetables.

When we hear about the English coming to the New World, we usually hear about the Pilgrims on the Mayflower searching for religious freedom.  But the first English to set sail for the New World were actually sent here by Sir Walter Raleigh in the 1500s, and they had a very clear set of instructions:  Find Gold!  And even the Pilgrims were not opposed to a little wealth.

So many English came to the east coast of North America that by the year 1700, 90% of the people in the colonies were English.  None of them would have survived the early years, had the Native Americans not taken the trouble to teach them to fish and hunt properly in the local areas, and to use pumpkins, beans, and corn; though as soon as the English could plant their traditional English foods or import them from England, they went back to their original English foodways ... foodways that have become a basic part of the way we eat in North America.

When you see roast beef, a pie that has a top crust, a cup of tea, steamed puddings, marmalade, oatmeal, and most of the foods around our traditional celebration of Christmas, you are looking at foods that were brought here by the English.  Our laws are English, our language is English, and even today our most common food ways come from our English heritage.

There were no Native American apples growing when the first Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts in the 1620s.  But within a few years, English colonists were planting apple trees wherever they could.  We often hear the phrase "as American as apple pie."  It would be much more accurate to say "as English as apple pie," or in this case apple tart, which just happens to be the dish that pastry chef George McCurdy is working on at New York City's Tribeca Grill.

Three apples are peeled, cored, and thinly sliced.  Some butter goes into a large non-stick saucepan, then the apples, and some sugar.  That cooks for five minute.  Meanwhile, pastry dough is given a coating of confectioner's sugar and rolled out.  Some ground hazelnuts are sprinkled on top and rolled in, and the dough is cut into triangles.  Onto a parchment-covered baking pan; an hour of refrigeration, then 20 minutes of baking at 375.  Half of the apple mixture is pureed, then spread out on the pastry.  Finally, the apples go on top.  A scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt, and some decorations.

Along with the first apples in North America, the English introduced the first European hogs; and successive migrations of English continued to promote ham cookery.  In 1608, three sows and a boar were brought from Great Britain to Jamestown, Virginia.  Within two years, the pork population had increased to over 60 pigs.  By 1625, Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas had become famous for their hams.  Soon pork was the most popular meat in the colonies.

The American Festival Cafe in New York City has a collection of great American ham recipes.    One of my favorites is an old Southern recipe that uses cola as the basting liquid.

Start with a ten-pound ham, pre-cooked, with the skin removed.  Place the ham fat-side-down in a roasting pan.  Pour about an inch of cola into the pan.  Then into a 350-degree oven for two and a half hours.  Baste the ham frequently with the cola.  The next step is to take a bowl and mix together a cup of brown sugar, a cup of bread crumbs, two teaspoons of dry mustard, and a little fresh pepper.  Press that mixture onto the ham to make a nice coating.  Baste with the cola and the pan drippings, and return it to the oven for a half-hour to give it a golden coating.  Fabulous!

The spice we call a clove is actually the unopened flower bud of the clove tree, and the buds must be picked by hand just before they open.  That means that each tree is picked over and over and over again for weeks at a time, until they get all the buds.  After that, a couple of dozen other hand operations that are labor-intensive, like drying them in the sun in small batches and turning them by hand, and you'll see why cloves are one of our more pricey spices.  And they've been that way for thousands of years.

Cloves are native to a group of small islands near Australia.  The Portuguese traders of the 1500s knew about these islands, and were making great fortunes by bringing spices from them to Europe.  They were so protective about the location of the islands that they actually made maps of the area that were incorrect and would lead the sailors of other nations into the rocks.  The Dutch eventually took control of the area, which came to be known as the Dutch West Indies, and the islands came to be known, quite descriptively, as the Spice Islands.

The best clove flavor always comes from the whole clove bud.  Stick them into something before they go in the pot, so you can remove them from the dish before you serve.  They're not fun to chew on; like bay leaves, you want the flavor and then you want them out of the dish.


The next largest group of immigrants to arrive at Ellis Island were the Irish.  And the Irish hold a very special honor in terms of Ellis.  On New Year's Day of 1892, a 15-year-old girl named Annie Moore became the first immigrant to pass through the government station on Ellis Island in New York Harbor.  She'd come from County Cork in Ireland.

Annie Moore was welcomed to her new country by millions of Irish men and women who had come here during the 1800s to avoid the famine that was caused by the repeated failure of the potato crop in Ireland.  Potatoes had become a basic part of virtually every meal in the Irish peasant home, and those Irish peasant cooks had come up with an extraordinary collection of potato recipes.  Probably the most famous are colcannon, boxty, haggerty, and Dublin coddle.  Colcannon is mashed potatoes and vegetables, usually cabbage.  Boxty bread is potato pastry filled with bacon.  Haggerty is crisp cakes of onions and potatoes.  Dublin coddle is a casserole of bacon, sausages, onions, and potatoes.

When the Irish arrived in North America, they immediately planted potatoes, and singlehandedly made them as popular as they are today.  And it looks like they may become even more popular, as people begin to use the simple baked potato as a snack food.  They're low in sodium, low in calories, high in fiber, and high in potassium.

The Irish peasant farmers of the 1800s led an extremely difficult life.  The recurrent crop failures kept them on the edge.  As a result, they developed many techniques for getting the most for the least, especially when it came to cooking.  John Doherty, the executive chef at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel, learned about Irish cooking in his mother's kitchen; and today he's preparing a home-style recipe for Irish lamb stew.

Five pounds of leg of lamb are trimmed of fat, cut into one-inch cubes, and put into a saucepan.  A quart of cold water goes on top.  It's brought to a boil, at which point the water is drained away from the meat.  The meat stays in the pot and goes back on the heat.  Four cups of sliced onion go in; a cup of sliced leeks; four cloves of sliced garlic; a bay leaf; some thyme; and enough water to cover the meat.

JOHN DOHERTY:  Burt, I've covered just the meat with the water, and then all the water comes out of the leeks and the onions once it starts to cook, to give it just the right amount of liquid ... perfect.

WOLF:  Finally, five large potatoes that have been thinly sliced go in.  20 minutes more cooking, then into a bowl; a garnish of chopped parsley; and the Irish lamb stew is ready to serve.

The Irish were not only responsible for North America's love affair with the potato, but they were also the popularizer of the leek.  The leek is a member of the lily family with an onion-like bulb at its base.  The ancient Assyrians believed that leeks had considerable medical value; they recommended that you eat them in order to prevent your hair from turning white.  Now, there's a piece of information I could have used about 25 years ago.

One thing you gotta remember about leeks is they are often packed with sand between the leaves, and you need to clean them very carefully before you cook them.  Trim off any damaged ends at the top of the leek, and the roots from the bottom.  And the best technique for getting out all of the soil and grit is to cut two slices down the center of the leaves.  Cut one, then give it a half turn and cut the other; you've actually quartered the leeks.  Then open the leaves with your hands and hold them open while you place the leek under running water.  Let that water come down and get out all of the grit and the soil.  Slice them into the sizes called for in your recipe, and you are ready to cook.

We are a nation of immigrants, and the children and grandchildren of immigrants, and we love the idea of equality of opportunity.  We may not end up with what we want, but we at least like to have the feeling that we had a shot at it.  Equality of opportunity was extremely important to the people who came through Ellis Island, and it's even more important to their descendants.  And that desire to have equal opportunity has had an enormous impact on the way we eat in this country.

In past centuries, you could always tell who the most important people were at a dinner table, because they were eating the most important parts of the meat, fish, or poultry.  The life-giving protein in the flesh was the most valued part of a meal, and that food was usually cooked whole and brought to the table in one piece.  As it was carved, the most valued parts went to the most valued people:  the person who got the breast was more important than the person who got the neck.  And that system was unacceptable to our equality-loving hearts.  We are attracted to systems that appear to be free of hierarchy.

One result of that is that more and more of our food is pre-cut, pre-measured, and pre-processed into shapes where one piece is totally indistinguishable from the next.  To a great extent, the success of the hamburger, the fish stick, and the chicken nugget, is the result of our love of democracy.

Well, that's all from Ellis Island.  Please join us next time as we travel around the world looking for good things to eat and drink at Burt Wolf's Table.

Burt Wolf's Table: Hawaii - #202

BURT WOLF:  Hawaii:  a hundred and thirty-two islands that stretch across the center of the Pacific Ocean; a necklace of tropical jewels.  We'll see how the ancient Hawaiians cooked... whip up some great-tasting recipes, using some of the island’s healthiest native foods, and we'll discover the fruit that keeps the goddess of the volcanoes content.  So join me in Hawaii at Burt Wolf's Table.

WOLF:  The ancient Hawaiians had a story about how their people came to be. They believed that their history began in the deep darkness  below the earth, and boy, how right they were. The islands that make up Hawaii are actually the tops of a chain of mountains that have pushed themselves up from the bottom of the ocean floor.

Hot magma is forced up from the very center of the planet. It drives its way through standing vents in the Earth's crust. It escapes through fractures on the floor of the Pacific Ocean and begins to form volcanoes. The volcanoes build up for thousands of feet until they break through the  surface of the water. The mountains that make up Hawaii are some of the biggest mountains on Earth, bigger than Mount Everest. It's estimated that the process may have started about forty-five million years ago and it's still going on.  For the Hawaiians, the gods of creation are still very busy. 

The best way to get a good look at what has been created is from a helicopter. Papillon Hawaiian helicopters is the world's largest helicopter sightseeing company.  Larry Lariosa, one of their pilots, is the third generation of his family born in Hawaii and he has a great deal of knowledge about the Islands and their history.  His helicopter gives you a unique ability to discover the area. You can just drop in wherever you like. 

WOLF:  These islands were the last major body of land to be discovered by European explorers. They were first seen by Captain James Cook in 1778. He called them the Sandwich Islands in honor of his friend John Montague, who was the Earl of Sandwich, first Lord of the Admiralty and most important, the inventor of the sandwich. 

LARRY LARIOSA:  What we'll do here is we'll just... sneak on down here... get a better view of the shoreline area.

WOLF:  They all look like they were lava floes.

LARIOSA:  Yes they were. 

WOLF:  You can see how the lava dripped down and formed everything.

LARIOSA:  True. Very true. Here is one of the most interesting points I believe here on the island... the eastern point of the island, Makapuu, translated “bulging eye.”  A tiny island, Turtle Island, the larger, Manana Island  translated Rabbit Island. And here on our left side, Splash Park where they put on a beautiful show, the dolphins and the killer whale, seven days a week. I know it sounds like a sales pitch, it is...my cousin works there. 


LARIOSA:  Gotta help out the family. Now this another interesting area, Hanouma Bay.  Here at Hanouma Bay you can jump in the water, wade out on the shallow side with a handful of fish,  they will come right up to you, eat it right off the palm of your hands. 

WOLF:  So this was a crater.


WOLF:  Of a volcano and one side of it dropped away.

LARIOSA:  You got it.  Here is an interesting point on our left. That's the fish farm, that's one of twenty-five which we now we have around the island. A lot of 'em are still being used by island fisherman to store fish which they caught out in the ocean with nets.

WOLF:  You know, that's interesting because  we're beginning to farm fish in the United States now.

LARIOSA:  That's true.

WOLF:  And people think it's a brand new thing and it's been going on for thousands of years.

LARIOSA:  That's true.

WOLF:  It's a lot easier to grow a fish than to  catch one.

LARIOSA:  It is. It is. 

WOLF:  What a lovely unspoiled valley. 

LARIOSA:  Looking at all the plants and flowers that you have here around the island, we’ve got about two thousand five hundred species, of which seventeen hundred are indigenous to the islands.  Now here coming up ahead of us on our left front this is the sugar fields.  The dark green is about a year old, the lighter brown, twenty-two to twenty-four months. Sugar requires two thousand pounds of fresh water to produce just one pound of raw sugar. Amazing.

WOLF:  Pineapples.

LARIOSA:  There's over twenty-five species of pineapple in the world. It's hand planted and hand picked and of course in front of us... the infamous North Shore surfing beaches.  During the winter months, November to March, the waves out here could possibly get up to thirty-five feet.

WOLF:  It's a nice way to spend a Monday morning.

LARIOSA:  You got it. Oh, you want to see something interesting here?  For thirty-five million dollars you can pick up this home here.

WOLF: If I had thirty-five million dollars I wouldn't pick up anything. (LAUGHS)

LARIOSA:  There's a beautiful phrase that I  tell a lot of people. (SAYS PHRASE)  It translates; With everlasting love and affection... until we meet again.


WOLF:  To understand the food of Hawaii you need to take a look at the ethnic groups that immigrated to these islands. The early groups were from Polynesia, particularly the island of Tahiti. Their major food festival was called the luau.  Authentic luaus are presented from time to time as charity events but you can see a visitor's version at Germaine's. 

WOLF:  Germaine's was started in the 70's by a woman who wanted to give people a sense of what Hawaiian hospitality is like and it turns out to be a lot of fun.

DANCE INSTRUCTOR:  To the right....and to the left. Hitchhike.  Way up in the air and pull, girls, pull. A fish...a fish.  Hitchhike.  Way up in the air, and pull girls. And pull. One more time. Step back with your left foot, touch your shoulders and throw a  kiss.  Throw a kiss.  Oh.  How about another hand for our girls, aren't they lovely.

WOLF:  Preparation for a luau centers around an emu, an ancient form of oven dug into the ground. The base and the walls of the pit are lined with a fragrant wood and lava stones. A pig goes in and is surrounded with tea and banana leaves. The fire heats up, the meat is covered. It cooks in the steam and ten to twelve hours later you are ready for the ultimate pig-out.  The luau is a way of bringing all the members of a family together for a shared experience. A food that's served at every luau is poi, a paste made from a baked root and pounded into a thick concentrate. The root is called taro. Taro is a tropical plant. For thousands of years it has been the basic starch for many cultural groups living in the South Pacific. It was originally brought to Hawaii by the Polynesians about fifteen hundred years ago, and it quickly became a food of great importance. It's grown in a patch fed by running water and harvested by hand.  The root is baked and made into a puree called poi. It has a taste somewhere between artichoke hearts and chestnuts. The islanders realized that poi could be wrapped up in leaves and would hold its nutritional value for months at a time. That made it the ideal food to take along on long ocean voyages or to stock up with to make sure you had a secure food supply. These days taro is used in Hawaii to make the traditional poi but you also find it in stuffings, cakes, breads and stews. The leaves are used as if they were spinach. Taro root and the leaves are an excellent source of protein.  They also contain vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium and iron. The actual starch molecules are so small that they're usually easily digested by infants, the elderly and people on restricted diets.  So taro a moment in Hawaii and taste the poi that refreshes.

WOLF:  The luau and poi are essential elements in Hawaiian culture, and so are leis. The Hawaiian lei is a delicate necklace usually made from flowers but sometimes constructed of shells, leaves, nuts or feathers. Traditionally they were worn as head wreaths, necklaces and bracelets. They were worn during religious dances and considered as important offerings to the gods. A lei used in a sacred ceremony was thought of as the personal property of the deity to whom the ceremony was dedicated.  Each part of a lei has a specific significance. They were made with care and offered with great affection. Even today leis are a very important part of Hawaiian society. Many tourists receive them when the arrive on the islands but leis are also used by Hawaiians for all major and many minor occasions;  births, weddings, funerals, parties, and any time you want to express trust and affection.

WOLF:  The lei is clearly a symbol of Hawaiian folklore but so is the hula. Every  Sunday morning for well over a decade, children have performed the hula at the Ala Moana Center. The ritual of this dance is very complex and was always an important part of religious services.  It was central to a series of acts that were meant to establish contact with the ancient gods. In the old days, entering a hula school for a Hawaiian was the same as entering a monastery.  Some hulas are designed to influence events in the future, much as praying is used in other societies. The hula is an extraordinary folk art and its preservation a tribute to Hawaiian society.

WOLF:  His name is George Mavrothalassitis. He was born in the south of France on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and  trained with some of the great chefs of Paris.  These days he is the executive chef at a magnificent restaurant in Waikiki called  La Mer.  Today George is preparing fish with a salsa made from local papayas. A  quarter cup of lime juice goes into a bowl, plus a little salt, white pepper, chopped  jalepeno pepper and fresh ginger.

GEORGE:  I prefer to chop like that than to grate...to grate it becau...to grate because...you keep the juice of the ginger inside when you cut... finely as that.

WOLF:  That gets mixed together with a half cup of olive oil, a little garlic, a half cup of chopped onion, same amount of papaya and diced red bell pepper.  A tablespoon of cilantro completes the salsa, which then rests for about an hour to let the flavors blend. While that's happening, a piece of fish steak is trimmed. What George was doing was trimming away the dark part of the fish. Whenever you have a piece of fish and you see one of these dark cores, cut it out.  If there are impurities in the fish, this is where they're stored.  A little salt goes onto the fish and some of the liquid from the salsa to keep it moist, and into a steamer over water for eight minutes. When the fish comes out, it goes on to a leaf- covered plate, and the papaya salsa goes on top. 

Shortly after Columbus landed in the Caribbean, he noted in his logbook that the natives were very strong and lived largely on a tree melon called the fruit of the angels.  The particular fruit that Columbus was actually talking about was the papaya.  European countries with trading companies in the Caribbean like England, France and Portugal were also doing business in the South Pacific and they brought papayas to Hawaii. If you see a papaya fresh in a U.S. market, the odds are a thousand to one that it was grown here in Hawaii. Papaya is a major crop here. When you're picking out a papaya in your market look for ones that have a smooth and unblemished skin. The green color should be gone and replaced by a golden yellow-orange. Half a papaya has about eighty calories and it's a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium. It can be served as a fruit with a spray of lemon or lime juice to enhance the flavor... in salads... or as the container for seafood or chicken recipes.  Hawaiian chefs use papaya to make jams, jellies, sherbets and drinks. Perhaps the most unusual quality to a papaya is its ability to tenderize meat. The juice of a green papaya contains an enzyme that's actually used to make commercial tenderizers.


WOLF:  When a volcano would erupt on Hawaii, an offering of meat was thrown into the fiery lava to quiet down Pele, the goddess who was in charge of all volcanoes.  When you did that you threw in a papaya too, just to make sure that the meat offering would be tender. You know, it's a small touch, but it's the kind of thing that a goddess always appreciates.

And any goddess would also appreciate this recipe for swordfish with a watercress crust. A piece of swordfish is trimmed into a steak.  A little vegetable oil goes into a pan and in goes the fish.  One minute of cooking on the first side, a gentle flip, and one minute of cooking on the second side.

GEORGE:  This...was I...I have to say this was my best discovery in Hawaii.  This was because it's just great to coo...for cooking. You know in France, we use English watercress and it's very good for soup and...for salad. This watercress was more a...

WOLF:  Like a vegetable.

GEORGE:  ...to make sauce gor...is just gorgeous.  It's very peppery. It's very, very, very nice.

WOLF:  Watercress is pureed in a blender with a little vegetable oil and it's mixed together with the white of an egg and a little salt and pepper. That mixture is spread out on top of the fishsteak. Into a three hundred and fifty degree fahrenheit oven for three minutes and it's ready to serve. Some braised leeks go onto a serving plate and the fish with the watercress crust and some sliced carrots that have been cooked with a little  butter, sugar and fresh ginger. The watercress crust is a great idea. Watercress is actually a very  important crop in Hawaii. 

Right smack in the middle of Aiea, Hawaii is the Sumida Farm... eleven acres that have resisted the developers’ concrete for almost a hundred years.  Since the turn of the century, the Sumida family has used this land to cultivate a delicate crop of watercress. Watercress is a peppery- flavored green leafy plant that grows along the  sides of flowing water. The water on the Sumida farm comes from this ancient natural spring. Watercress has been part of the human diet for thousands of years. As a matter of fact, the ancient Greeks thought of it as a health food and they would feed it to their soldiers before they went into battle. About two thousand years later, the British navy had pretty much the same approach. They would feed it to their sailors to prevent scurvy, a disease that you get if you don't have enough vitamin C in your diet.  Well, both the ancient Greeks and the British navy certainly knew what they were talking about. Watercress is packed with vitamin C, and it also contains lots of minerals that are very important to your health. These days we're finding out that watercress also contains beta carotene, which is a building block for vitamin A and may turn out to be a very important cancer blocker. Most of the watercress grown in Hawaii goes into the dishes of the large Asian population. The peppery flavor adds a natural zest. It's one of the islands favorite leafy vegetables.

WOLF:  When you think about the foods of Hawaii, watercress may not be the first thing that comes to mind.  The superstar of Hawaiian produce is the pineapple and it is the basis for one of George's most popular deserts. A pineapple is trimmed of its outside rind and sliced lengthwise into six wedges. The corestrip is cut off and the wedge is sliced into bite-sized pieces. The pieces go into a heated non-stick pan.  No oil or butter in the pan, just the hot surface. The heat of the surface caramelizes the natural sugar in the pineapple and you end up with a crisp brown crust. Turn the pineapple pieces until you see a crust forming. The total cooking time should be about a minute on each side. When they're ready, they get spread out on your favorite pastry crust that's been cut into an eight-inch disk and baked until done.  A little pineapple sauce goes around the dough, and a decoration of guava.

WOLF:  The ancient Hawaiians called it “wave sliding” and it was a symbolic pact that dealt with conquering fear and understanding the changes of life. It was also a lot of fun. As early as the fourteenth century, Hawaiians were singing songs about the achievements of the great surfers. Important chiefs would surf against each other, the winner receiving large plots of land from the losers. England's Captain Cook and his crew first saw surfers in the 1770's and wrote in their logbook that that “these men feel the most supreme pleasure.  The boldness with which they performed these difficult and dangerous maneuvers is astonishing and scarce to be believed.”

WOLF:  Well I'll tell you... two hundred years have passed since then but I feel pretty much the way Captain Cook did.  Surfing became a sport right here on Waikiki Beach in the early 1900's when a group of local surfers organized a club. I think for a man my age to learn to surf now would be a little nuts -- and if I'm going to deal with little nuts in Hawaii, it's going to be those macadamias.

Macadamia nuts are the seeds of a tropical tree that was originally a native of Australia. It was named after John McAdam, a chemist who lived during the mid 1800's and promoted the plant in Australia.  Macadamia nuts originally arrived in Hawaii in the 1880's and were thought of primarily as an ornamental plant rather than a source of nuts, because a macadamia nut is a tough nut to crack. As a matter of fact, when automobiles first arrived in Hawaii they were used to open macadamia nuts. They'd take two planks of wood, put the nuts in between and drive the car over the top to break the protective shells. These days that job is done by commercial rollers that produce over three thousand pounds of pressure per square inch -- but it's all worth it.

WOLF:  Inside is a delicate, crisp meat that seems to melt into a sweet creamy flavor. Today Hawaii produces ninety percent of the world's macadamia nuts, and local companies present them in many different ways -- including chocolate-covered, in brittle and as cookies.  Macadamia nuts contain about a hundred calories in a half-ounce portion and their fat is unsaturated, which is good. They also have some phosphorus, some iron, B-1 and a little bit of calcium. The vacuum-packed cans will last for about two years, but as soon as you open them you should refrigerate the contents. Macadamia nuts are a common ingredient in Hawaiian dishes. Chef Jamain at the Kahala Hilton uses them in his recipe for Hawaiian brownies. Two cups of sugar go into a mixing bowl, a half teaspoon of  salt, nine ounces of butter, a quarter cup of corn syrup and lots of mixing.

GERMAIN:  They should be really made at home in the... in the mixer.

WOLF:  Then you don't get the great Hawaiian sun, but you do get a much fluffier mixture.

GERMAIN:  You know, Burt, we...we in Hawaii are now getting tired with the sun; is your turn now.

WOLF:  (LAUGHS) Okay. All of the ingredients need to be well-mixed. And in goes one cup of cocoa powder... four eggs, one cup of flour and two cups of chopped macadamia nuts.  When all the ingredients are fully incorporated, an eleven-by-seventeen jellyroll pan is lined with parchment paper.  Your batter gets poured in and  spread out, a garnish of chopped macadamia nuts on top and into a pre-heated three hundred and twenty-five degree fahrenheit oven for thirty minutes. When it comes out you get a bunch of brownies that could drive you nuts.  The chef likes to serve the brownies with a scoop of ice cream on top, some hot fudge, strawberries and whipped cream.  You know, it fits perfectly into my weight loss diet because I just share it with the other two hundred and thirty one guests at the hotel -- and what a hotel it is.

WOLF:  When travel writers rank the world's finest resorts, the Kahala Hilton is regularly included. It sits on the edge of a secluded white sandy beach on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. For over twenty-five  years it has lured travelers in search of a peaceful and private rest. Paddle boating, snorkeling, wind surfing, scuba diving or just lazing on a raft in the brilliant Hawaiian sun. There's an oceanside pool for those who prefer fresh-water swimming and a manmade lagoon which has become home to three bottlenosed dolphins. Waterfalls, lush gardens and an oceanside lounge that was a regular setting for scenes in Magnum P.I.   The Kahala Hilton is also well known for its food. Executive Chef Dominque Germain trained in a number of fine restaurants in his homeland of France and perfected his skills in Montreal, Canada before coming to Hawaii. Today the foods of Hawaii result from the many ethnic groups who have applied their homeland kitchen techniques to the local produce, including ginger. Ginger originated in Southeast Asia and was transplanted to the warm parts of our planet thousands of years ago. Ancient documents show ginger being traded in the Mediterranean in the first century A.D., and it shows up in English recipes by the 1100s. The Spanish planted it in the Caribbean right after the  arrival of Columbus. And Chef Dominque Germain puts that Hawaiian ginger to work in a  recipe for fish with a ginger pesto sauce.  Start by peeling the skin of a hand of ginger and slicing up about a half cup's worth. Peel and crush four cloves of garlic.  A little vegetable oil goes into a hot pan, and the ginger and the garlic.  A few flips while it's cooking, then into a blender, an ounce of cashew nuts, a few pinenuts, a few macadamia nuts, some cilantro, a few basil leaves, the juice of a lemon and a little vegetable oil, a hit of tabasco and a little sesame oil, a little tasting.  Salt and pepper goes onto a piece of red snapper, the snapper goes into a saucepan, fish stock and lemon juice are added and brought to a simmer so the fish can cook for about eight minutes. At that point the fish is removed to a serving plate, a touch of cream goes into the pan and the sauce is cooked down until it thickens.  Then in goes the ginger pesto.

DOMINIQUE GERMAIN:  Now it really looks ono.

WOLF:  What does ono mean?

GERMAIN:  Ono means in Hawaiian “delicious.” 

WOLF:  The fish goes onto a serving plate, a few vegetables and the sauce.

WOLF:  Every day somewhere on the islands of Hawaii there is a rainbow, a perfect symbol for the natural beauty of this area.  But it's also an excellent symbol for what's happening here culturally.  Hawaii is made up of dozens of different ethnic groups... different sizes, different colors, different shapes, different philosophies, different languages and different religions.  And yet  they live side by side with virtually no tension. It is a rainbow of people, more beautiful than any rainbow I have seen anywhere else in the world and as they exchange their appreciation for each other's culture, they exchange their appreciation for each other's foods.   And that has a lot to teach us about eating well.  Please join us next time as we travel around the world looking for things that taste good and make it easier to eat well. I'm Burt Wolf.

Origins: San Antonio - #121

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

On March 6, 1836, three thousand troops under the command of the Mexican dictator Santa Ana overwhelmed a hundred and eighty-nine Texans at the Battle of the Alamo.  Six weeks later the army of Texas under the command of General Sam Houston defeated Santa Ana, and Texas became an independent nation.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The battle cry of the army of Texas was “Remember the Alamo.”  And the people of Texas have been doing that ever since, especially here in San Antonio, which is the home of The Alamo.  I like San Antonio a lot, particularly because it doesn’t forget.  It remembers its past and does everything it can to preserve it.  At a time when many cities are becoming standardized and it’s getting harder to tell one from the other, San Antonio stands out as different -- and in the nicest way.

The first thing that sets it apart is the San Antonio River, which runs smack dab through the center of town.  Richard Hurd is the Superintendent of River Operations.

RICHARD HURD:  The San Antonio River as it stretches through the downtown area of San Antonio, has the River Walk, which is a linear park area along the banks of the river.  And the River Walk history really goes back 75 or 80 years, and this development you see today is an evolution of what’s occurred over that time.  Habitation along the river goes back several thousands of years when Indians first settled along the river and really it was a source of water.  The water in the San Antonio River emerges from springs about three miles north of downtown.  We’re the largest city in the United States who gets their source of water from an underground source exclusively.  And the downtown area really grew up around that river.  What you have today is a very beautiful park area along the banks of the San Antonio River, and adjacent to that park area you have some very nice commercial development that is grown up over the years, and I think one of our real success points is it did occur a long period -- it really evolved.

BURT WOLF:  But it really is a river, and it runs through it.

RICHARD HURD:  Oh yeah.  Yeah.  It’s a river.  But it’s fairly slowly sometimes.  And fairly rapidly sometimes.  It has its own free-thinking, free spirit.  I mean, it’s just subject to the elements just like any other river.

And we’ll be moving into the Arneson River Theater, here.  Which is an amphitheater which was part of the original WPA construction.  Arneson was the engineer on the project during the WPA construction; he died during the project and they named the theater in his memory.  But, on the one side you have grass steps, seating, on the one side of the river, and on the other side you have a stage.  During performances you’ll have barges passing along the front of the theater.  And a beautiful wooden stage for flamenco-type dancing and performances.  During the summer months there’s an event there every night of the week.  From Memorial Day through Labor Day, there’s something there every night.  It’s great for viewing, makes it a little tough on keeping the grass on the steps, but we adjust.

The waterfall we’re coming up against, this was donated by an anonymous donor during Hemisfair ‘68, and it’s recirculated river water.  We have pumps located behind the fountain that draw water out of the river and circulate it through the features.  And it’s really a beautiful feature.  One of the comments that I’ve heard in ‘68 was this area had too much concrete, too much stone.  Twenty-five years later we can see that with the growth of the landscape, that it’s really softened it tremendously.  It’s still very attractive in here.

Spain’s colonization of North America started in Mexico and moved north into what is now Texas.  France’s colonization of North America started in Canada and moved south into Louisiana.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Eventually the French and Spanish began to bump into each other, and not in the friendliest of ways.  The Spanish wanted to keep the French from moving west and they thought one way they could do that would be by colonizing Texas with missions.  So they set missions up along the east coast of Texas.  You can get a pretty good idea of what an early Spanish mission looked like by visiting the Mission San Jose right here in San Antonio.

LEE WILDER: The mission was not a church.  A mission was an entire community.  It was run by the Indians.  They were self-governing.  And then as they built the walls, they built their homes into it.  And you can see that they would have two-room apartments throughout the compound.  Here at Mission San Jose they had eighty-four two-room apartments built into the protective walls.

BURT WOLF:  Were they condos or you rented them?

LEE WILDER:  They were sort of like condos; they did own them.

Within the missions, of course, they learned about Catholicism.  They learned the religion, and they learned the way of life.  This is a very interesting part of the mission.  While this is a reconstruction, this is what the entire front of the church would have been in.  They frescoed the entire front, and in the 1920s they were able to determine the pattern and the colors well enough to reconstruct this particular section to show people what the entire front of the church looked like -- in highly decorative geometric designs of red, blues, and yellows.

The church here at Mission San Jose was built in the 1780s.  It was not the first church, but it became the most elaborate and was known as the Queen of the Missions.  Now, every part of the church instructed the neophytes in some manner.  The shape, the configuration, and most specifically the fine artistic statuary on the front of the church.  And keep in mind that the entire front was frescoed with those bright geometric designs.  Must’ve been a startling sight to anyone coming in.

And on Sunday mornings there’s a perfect example of cultural blending and preservation -- a Mariachi Mass.

LEE WILDER:  Even today, the church is an active parish.  The community still uses these grounds for festivals, and carnivals, and special uses.  The government, in the form of the National Parks Service, has come in and again we’re collaborating with the church in the preservation of these magnificent missions for future generations.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  For hundreds of years the Spanish and the French were in direct competition -- and that was even true when it came to the cooking of their friars in the colonial missions.  Throughout most of North America, the Spanish friars took second place to the French friars.  But that was only because the French friars had earned their reputation frying potatoes, and in actuality it was the Spanish friars who brought the potatoes to North America.  It’s a very confusing situation.  But there’s nothing confusing about the food in San Antonio.  It’s good, and much of the history of the community is reflected in the recipes.

There are at least twenty restaurants in San Antonio that are worth a visit and they’re not hard to find.  We went to a spot called El Mirador.  We had Chilaquiles, which are scrambled eggs that are made with tortilla chips, onions, tomatoes, and jalapeño chilies.  They came with refried beans, fresh tortillas and coffee that had a hit of chocolate in it.  It’s a real down home place with good food at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This is the restaurant Mi Tierra, which has a number of things going for it.  In terms of free publicity (which may be good or bad, depending on your politics), President Clinton likes to jog and apparently be photographed in his Mi Tierra T-shirt.  The assumption is that he is trying to jog off the calories that he picked up in the restaurant.

EUSEBIO TRUJILLO:  This is our traditional coconut candy.  We use a little bit of food coloring to give it the pinkish presentation..

BURT WOLF:  A little bit...!

EUSEBIO TRUJILLO:  It really is attractive, it’s appealing to the people, it makes it look very tasteful.  And here we also present our traditional coconut square candy.  It’s a solid square of coconut, it’s sweetened, and we present the traditional colors of the Mexican flag -- the red, white, and green.  Here we have our candied oranges.  And what we do here is we serve a freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast every morning, and where we used to throw away the orange peel, now we send it to our candy man, and he does the same process, the candy process, and instead of having to pay a higher cost for waste management, here our customers assist us in paying us to carry it away.

BURT WOLF:  Recycle!  I like that.

EUSEBIO TRUJILLO:  Recycle!  Zero waste concept is what we call it.

Another specialty that’s very nutritious is our candied pumpkins.

BURT WOLF:  Ah ha.  What makes it nutritious?

EUSEBIO TRUJILLO:  Oh, ‘cause it’s a pumpkin, and so it’s one of the major, what’s that?  The major food...?

BURT WOLF:  Major food groups.  Candy is one of the major food groups.

EUSEBIO TRUJILLO:  Yes.  What we do here is we also use the pumpkin to its fullest.  The seeds from the pumpkin we set out to dry, and we grind them up and use them in another recipe in our kitchen.

BURT WOLF:  I love that.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Now, this is my favorite cookie, it gets the national award for recycling.  It’s called “la piedra” -- the stone.  When anything crumbles or breaks or falls apart up here in the bakery, they don’t throw it out, they put it into a big bin.  Then they take it back by the ovens, mix it with a little moisture, shape it like this, rebake it, and sell it to you.  The stone!

We also had a fine meal at Boudro’s.  It’s in a building that was put up in the late 1800s and it’s right on the River Walk.  The food is American Southwest.  Guacamole made fresh at tableside.  Cheese and black bean soup.  Crab tostados.  And sweet potato cake.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Texas also has some rather unusual packaged foods that make reference to the state in one way or another.  Texas is big -- 265,000 square miles of land.  So when Texas makes a jelly bean -- that’s what you get.  One jellybean to a mouth full.  And let us not forget to remember the Alamo Crackers.  It says on the box, “We will never surrender when it comes to good taste.”  I think they meant “good flavor,” I’m not sure there’s anything in “good taste” about this.  But if we’re moving in that direction, could I put ice cream on this and end up with PIE ALAMO?  You’re right, you’re right -- I never ever should have said that.

Please allow me to redeem myself by introducing you to Sally Buchanan.  She is the President of the San Antonio Conservation Society, which was organized in 1924 and has been working since then to preserve the best of this city.

SALLY BUCHANAN:  The women who formed it were interested in far more than just buildings.  They wanted, also, the natural resources -- the old historic parks to be protected, too.  Because they were as much a part of the character of San Antonio as the old buildings, the streets, and anything else we have around here.  And they lobbied for years to keep those bits and pieces of our old heritage, whether it was street names, whether it was the character of the river and to make it more beautiful, or whether it was the missions which we went at hammer and tong, tooth and nail, and bought up property around it in order to put the mission, particularly San Jose Mission, back together.

The Wulff House, which was built by Anton Wulff in 1870, was bought by the Conservation Society as its headquarters in 1974.  And it is a house that has the service areas down below grade a bit so it’s cooler.  You know, we are at the level of Cairo and Delhi on the latitude -- about that -- so our sun is high overhead.  So you want to do whatever you can to defend yourself from the sun.  You look and notice that it has very tall windows, and inside very high ceilings which gives it a wonderful cross-ventilation.

BURT WOLF:  It’s a natural air-conditioner.

SALLY BUCHANAN:  It’s as natural air-conditioning as you can get.  Anton Wulff was our first Parks’ Commissioner here, and he built this glorious building that is at the beginning of the King William Historic District.

We are at the Edward Steves Homestead which is owned by the Conservation Society and one of the two places in King William’s Street in the district where you’re able to go in one of these grand houses and see how people lived.  When you go in the house you will see stenciled ceilings, incredible innovations for that time, mercury switches, lamps that are fitted with electricity and gas, and a wonderful marketry table in the back room, which the employees of Edward Steves made for him in the shop.

Another landmark in San Antonio is San Fernando Cathedral.  The first foundation stone was laid in 1735 by the Canary Islanders.  Santa Ana hung his red flag from the church and used the tower as an observation post during the Battle of the Alamo.

This is the Governor’s Palace.  No governor actually lived there; it was a residence for the local military officers.

In front of it is the Military Plaza.  This was the earliest permanently settled spot by European immigrants.  After the revolution it was the commercial center of San Antonio, and home of the “Chili Queens.”

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Starting in the 1880s and continuing through the 1940s, food stands were set up every night in the plazas of the city.  They were staffed by young ladies who were chaperoned and assisted by their families.  They served very spicy chili to customers who were accustomed to much blander recipes.

The women eventually became known as “The Chili Queens.”  Stephen Crane, author of The Red Badge of Courage, visited the Chili Queens in 1895 and described the food as tasting “like pounded firebrick from Hades.”  Chili received its first exposure to the international public when a San Antonio Chili Stand was set up at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  That fair was known as the Columbian Exposition of 1893.  It was there to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in the New World in 1492.  They wanted to open in ‘92, but the construction ran so late that they didn’t get open until ‘93.  Sound familiar?  The Chili Queens disappeared in the 1940s, but they arrive every year once again on Memorial Day Weekend in a celebration of their memory.

Situated directly on the banks of the San Antonio River is a building that has been designated a historic treasure.  The planning for the main structure got started sixteen years after the fall of the Alamo by four brothers of the Society of Mary who arrived in San Antonio to build a school.  In the 1930s it became the home of St. Mary’s University School of Law.

When the law school moved to a larger campus in 1966, the property was purchased by a graduate of the school named Patrick Kennedy.  Pat’s intention was to renovate the site and turn it into an elegant hotel.  But this was his old law school and he loved the place.  As he walked through the structure he remembered his experiences and made sure that the design of the new building would conserve the old building.

Today, the library where Pat spent his time preparing to pass the bar is the hotel bar, which he tries never to pass.

The restored structure is known as La Mansion del Rio.  It’s a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts, and it can restore your belief that luxury hotels are still around.

The main restaurant is called Las Canarias.  The name pays tribute to a group of settlers that came to San Antonio from the Canary Islands in 1723.  And their namesake restaurant makes a significant contribution to the local gastronomy.

Ralph Herrmann is the chef at La Mansion and he’s going to do a little cooking for us.  His first recipe is for Blackened Red Snapper on a bed of Grilled Pineapple Rice.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Rice first came to Texas hundreds of years ago with the Spanish.  As a commercial product, it showed up in Texas right after the War Between The States.  And the same things that made rice important then are the things that make rice important today.

White rice has an almost unlimited shelf life.  And brown rice will hold for about six months.  All rice is easy to cook.  It’s high in complex carbohydrates, which makes it one of the healthiest fuels for your body.  It has a neutral flavor which allows it to blend with other foods.  And it is inexpensive.  On a more modern note -- it has no fat, no cholesterol and no sodium.

RALPH HERRMANN:  Okay, we’re going to add clarified butter to the pan.

Ralph starts his recipe for Pineapple Rice by pouring two tablespoons of clarified butter into a sauté pan, or you could use a vegetable oil and the results would be pretty much the same.  Then in go two cloves of minced garlic and two tablespoons of minced shallot or onion and four tablespoons of chopped green onion.  That sautés for a minute, after which the grilled pineapple is added.

That’s a whole pineapple that has been cut, cored, sliced, grilled and chopped.  Then a red bell pepper that has been roasted, seeded, and chopped.  A little salt and pepper.  And finally, two ounces of pineapple juice.  All that cooks together for about two minutes, at which point it is mixed into the four cups of precooked rice.  The rice is then molded with the aid of a cup and placed onto a serving plate.  A fillet of blackened red snapper goes on... a bit of grilled baby squash... and a sauce of avocado vinaigrette.

Ralph’s next recipe is for a Honey and Avocado Pico de Gallo, which could be served with fish or poultry.  And finally, for dessert, he’ll make a Honey Flan.

There are more than three hundred varieties of honey in the U.S., and the flavor of a particular honey depends on where the bees buzzed.  The flower that the bee tapped will determine both the flavor and the color of the honey that the bee will be making.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  In general, the lighter the honey the milder the flavor.  But darker honeys have interesting flavors and that’s why I use them.  Honey can add nice flavor notes to seasonings and sauces and dressings.  And while I’m in Texas, I should point out that one of the most common uses for honey is in barbecue sauce.  You know, if you come to Texas and you don’t say “barbecue” at least once, you’re in big trouble.

Ralph’s recipe for Honey Pico de Gallo begins with an onion being sliced in half, peeled, and chopped.  A half cup’s worth goes into a mixing bowl.  The ends are removed from six Roman tomatoes.  Then they are quartered, the cores are removed, and the remaining portion of the tomato is sliced into strips, cubed and placed in the bowl.  An avocado is quartered, peeled, diced and added.  The ends are cut from two Serrano peppers.  Then they are diced and mixed in.  Two cloves of crushed garlic are sliced, minced and added.  The juice of two limes goes in, plus a pinch of salt -- and finally the key ingredient: four tablespoons of honey.  A little mixing.  Two tablespoons of chopped cilantro.  A little more mixing and it’s ready.  Ralph uses the sauce for a dish of grilled chicken breasts.

Next up is the Honey Flan, but while we’re on the subject of honey, here are a few tips.  Don’t store honey in the refrigerator.  Just keep it in the jar at room temperature.  If it gets cloudy, which is part of the natural process of crystallization, heat it gently and it will return to its original liquid state.  You can use a warm water bath or after you make sure there’s no metal on the container you can put it in a microwave.  A little stirring and the crystals will dissolve.

And now -- a honey of a dessert.  Five whole eggs are whisked together in a mixing bowl.  Two cups of half and half are added.  Then three ounces of orange blossom honey.  A little mixing.

A vanilla bean is sliced.  The seeds and the meat are removed and added to the mixture.  If a vanilla bean is not easily available then a tablespoon of vanilla extract will do the job.  At this point the mixture is put aside for a few moments while two ounces of honey are heated and caramelized in a sauté pan.

As soon as the honey starts to turn brown it’s divided into eight ramekins.  Ralph is only using two, but you get the point.  The ramekins are tilted and turned so the caramelized honey coats the inside.  Then the ramekins go into a water bath and the water bath goes into a pre-heated 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for fifteen minutes.

When they come out, the flan is unmolded onto a serving plate and garnished with a sauce made from chopped Granny Smith apples, red apples and strawberries that have been diced and sautéed in a little honey.  Finally: a touch of mint.

The single largest group of European immigrants to arrive in San Antonio came from Germany.  In many cases they lived next to the native Mexican population, with each community exposing their cultural traditions to the other.  They influenced each others’ approach to business, art, architecture, food and particularly music.

At some point in the late 1800s the Mexican population in southern Texas adopted the accordion from the German settlers.  By the 1920s, the German polka and the waltz joined with the Mexican mariachi and produced a type of music called conjunto.  The Mexican 12-string bass guitar partnered with the German accordion.

Later a standup bass and drums were added.  The early lyrics dealt with experiences that were shared by both groups -- economic hardship, racial prejudice, tough times -- stories that gave conjunto its standing as true folk music.

Every May the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center sponsors a five-day festival of conjunto music, and people come from all over the world to celebrate this sound.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Well -- those are some of the things I’m going to remember about San Antonio, and I hope that you will remember to join us next time as we travel around the world looking at the ORIGINS of some of the things that surround us. I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: A Taste of Virginia Beach - #119

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

The English colonization of North America began in two different places and with two very different styles.  The Pilgrims who showed up in Massachusetts in 1620 came to the New World to pursue their search for religious freedom.  They were known as Puritans and they were devoted to a plain and simple way of life.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  In general, when the Puritans saw something that looked like it was going to feel good to the body, they decided that it was going to be bad for the soul and should be avoided.  On the other hand, you had the colonists that showed up in Virginia in 1607.  When they saw something that looked like it was going to feel good to the body they asked for a large case of it and wanted it to be delivered to their home as soon as possible.  They came to Virginia seeking wealth and power.  They wanted to live a lifestyle as close as possible to the King of England and they did everything they could to have that happen.  Both groups, however, were very interested in keeping their English traditions.  Especially when it came to eating and drinking.  If there was a foodstuff that grew in England, they wanted to grow it here in the Colonies.

The early settlers in Virginia took up residence along the James River, at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.  These days it’s where you will find the city of Virginia Beach.  For over four hundred years, the people of the Virginia Beach area have been surrounded by a great variety of seafood -- oysters, sturgeon, lobster, crabs, shrimp.  In fact, Captain John Smith wrote home that he had seen so many sea bass in the Chesapeake Bay that he thought he could walk across their backs without getting wet.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  In order to reduce their dependency on foods being imported from England, a group of Virginia colonists went to live with a group of friendly Native Americans.  Of all of the new foods they learned about, the most important was probably corn.  They quickly discovered that cornmeal could be used just like wheat flour to make bread.  They also found out that corn was a great vegetable.  You could eat it fresh off the cob during the summer, or you could dry it for later use in the winter when you would mix it with water and beans and meat.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  During the 1600’s, the colonists in Virginia built a little wooden shack and designated it as the central market.  During the Revolutionary War, the British burned it down.  So they built another one.  And the British burned it down during the War of 1812.  But the people of Virginia are very resourceful.  In retaliation against the British they invented the grilled vegetable sandwich which continues to increase in popularity while British imperialism continues to decline.

These days the official farmers’ market is in Virginia Beach.  There are also about two dozen farm stands in the area, and a number of pick-it-yourself farms.  The Virginia Beach Cooperative Extension publishes a list of the locations and the foods that are available month by month.  And during the late summer, the trucks are filled with fresh corn.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Virginia also became famous for its pork.  Pigs can be raised without much supervision.  As a matter of fact, the early Virginia colonists would fence their pigs out, not in.  They lived on whatever the settlers would discard and what they could find in the woods.  During the 1600’s, the Virginia planters began developing a crop of peanuts.  They used it as a cheap food source and fed it to the pigs.  Pigs developed a very special flavor.  The most famous pigs from Virginia came from an area called Smithfield, just down the road from here.  They became so popular in the United States and in Europe that Queen Victoria of England had a standing order for six Smithfield hams every week.

Pork is still a favorite part of the Virginia diet.  This is Thomas Malbon, whose barbecue business is truly a movable feast.

THOMAS MALBON:  Today we’re cooking a 140-pound hog on open coals and slow-roasted 24 hours overnight and cook it about 250-275 degrees.  The meat is cooked long enough and slow enough it’ll just fall right apart, you don’t even need a knife, the bones come right out of it.

BURT WOLF:  That really is so tender!

THOMAS MALBON:  Yes.  And the tender pork tenderloin which is a favorite of most -- just dip right in the sauce.

BURT WOLF:  Yes, I can do this.  Mmmmmm. Mmmmmm. Mmmmmm.

You call Tom, you tell him where and when you want to have your party and how many folks’ll be there.  Then all you’ve got to do is be ready to pig out.

THOMAS MALBON:  We’re having Snowflake Rolls, coleslaw, Texas caviar -- which is black beans, black-eyed peas, and navy beans, celery and some bell pepper.  Potato salad, cucumber salad with bell peppers and tomatoes, homemade baked beans, baby-back ribs.

BURT WOLF:  Oh yeah!  Mmmmm!

THOMAS MALBON:  Barbecue chicken, and Silver Queen sweet corn.

BURT WOLF:  Silver Queen sweet corn.

THOMAS MALBON:  Grown locally.

BURT WOLF:  I’m ready.

And if you have any room after that, you could visit a restaurant on the beach called Timbuktu, where Jordan Cross is going to prepare a Killer Fudge Cake.

JORDAN CROSS:  About six years ago, my parents wanted me to do my own desserts for my bar mitzvah.  So, I started baking... and that’s the first time I made it.

BURT WOLF:  How many people came to your bar mitzvah?

JORDAN CROSS:  About fifty, but I only did one of the cakes.  And I did a couple of the other desserts.  But that was the first time that I baked.

BURT WOLF:  That is a great story.

Jordan is not the executive chef here.  He’s not the pastry chef, either.  He’s not even a chef.  Jordan’s a busboy!  But you’d never know it from his recipe.

Jordan starts by greasing the bottom of two 9-inch round baking pans and then lining them with parchment paper.  Next, over simmering water, he melts together six ounces of butter and six ounces of unsweetened chocolate.

JORDAN CROSS:  Now that it’s all melted, I’m going to take it off and let it cool, while I’m doing the rest of the recipe.

Six whole eggs go into a mixing bowl, followed by three cups of sugar, a half teaspoon of salt, and one tablespoon of vanilla extract.  All those ingredients are whisked together for a minute, at which point a cup and a half of flour goes in and a cup and a half of chocolate chips.  The melted chocolate is poured in, and when everything is thoroughly combined this batter is divided equally between two baking pans.  Then it’s into a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for thirty minutes.

While the batter is baking, an icing is made.  A cup and a half of sugar goes into a small saucepan, plus two tablespoons of instant coffee.  Then a cup of cream is added and the pan goes onto the range.

JORDAN CROSS:  I stir it until it boils, and then as soon as it starts to boil I let it simmer for six minutes without stirring.

The pan comes off the heat and five ounces of unsweetened chocolate go in.  As the chocolate melts, four ounces of unsalted butter are added.  And finally, two tablespoons of vanilla extract are whisked in.  That’s the icing, and it goes into a freezer for about ten minutes to cool down and thicken up.

BURT WOLF:  At which point, the sauce is ready and the cakes come out of the oven.

JORDAN CROSS:  Alright, and the first thing we want to do is loosen the crusts from the side.  Alright, now I’m going to put a cake plate on top and flip it upside down.  And you want to peel off the waxed paper.  And now I need to put a layer of icing on the first cake.

BURT WOLF:  Go for it!

A layer gets iced... the second layer goes on... the top and the sides are iced... a little decoration of roses of icing... white chocolate shavings and the cake is ready.  Now that is a Killer Chocolate Cake!

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The restrictions on trade that had been placed on the American colonies by the English King came to an end with the end of the American Revolution.  There was an enormous increase in interstate and international trade.  That increase in business led to an increase in ship traffic along the Atlantic coast. And the increase in ship traffic led to an increase in ship wrecks.

This was the problem.  And this was the solution. In 1878, the federal Lifesaving Service established a series of life-saving stations at six-mile intervals along the coast.

The only life saving station left standing today on the east coast is right here on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach.  And it is a museum dedicated to the history of the service.

FIELDING L. TYLER:  There were, according to records which we have here, along the coast of Virginia, some six hundred wrecks between the start of the Lifesaving Service and 1915 when the Lifesaving Service merged to form the Coast Guard.  So there were quite a few.  And most of them were captured in the log books of the lifesaving stations along this part of the east coast.

There were three primary methods that they would use for lifesaving in this station and in most all the stations in America.  The first was the surf boat, which would envision the crew of this station or any other station going out to the wreck in the boat, being maybe taken down the beach by on a vehicle or being pulled by a cart taken out to there, go out to the wreck and save individuals and the equipment and all the stuff on the boat.  The second method that they used was the surf car.  The surf car looked like a large torpedo that was used to bring people from the beach or from the ship to the beach in more than one at a time.  In this case, this metal device would be sent out to the shipwreck on a line, load in more than one survivor, in this case I think usually about two or three would get into this device, close the door, signal to the beach, and we would bring this back over the surf, over the water, to the beach.  Not a very widely used device, but a device certainly used here at the lifesaving stations along the east coast.  The third method was the britches buoy.  The britches buoy was a sort of a life ring with a pair of -- looks like a man’s pair of britches on it.  And they would move that back and forth from the beach to the shipwreck, sort of like pulleys between two apartment buildings in New York.  This model depicts a very small coastal schooner that’s gone aground right here in front of the lifesaving station at Virginia Beach.  The schooner is foundering in the surf, behind it you can see the surf men from the station have set up the britches buoy apparatus.  This is a method of rescue that would bring him all the way back to the beach one at a time, then the crew will send the britches buoy back out to the ship, bring another survivor on and bring him to the beach.  This is one of the major methods of lifesaving service in the old days here at Virginia Beach station.

The original line, how they got the britches buoy out to the shipwreck, was they would fire it from a very small cannon called a Lyle Gun -- the line-throwing cannon --shoot that bad boy out to the shipwreck, then they would pull the line in -- hopefully the survivors would pull the line in -- and establish the line between the two, and then the crew here at the station would run the britches buoy or run the surf car out there, bringing the survivors back and forth.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Eventually, the lifesaving activities of the U.S. Lifesaving Service became part of the responsibilities of the U.S. Coast Guard, which was founded in 1790 by Alexander Hamilton who was then Secretary of the Treasury.  That was only one of the important things that Hamilton did for our nation, but it appears that his undying fame will actually rest on the fact that he is the face on a ten dollar bill.  Such are the twists and turns of fate.

These days the United States Coast Guard is the smallest of our five armed services.  It’s made up of about 45,000 men and women who are charged with an amazing variety of responsibilities regarding our waterways.

They maintain our navigation systems, including lighthouses and buoys, as well as our ship-to-shore emergency radio networks.

They play a central role in the enforcement of customs and immigration laws.

They serve as a military force, and are sent all over the world, from the Caribbean to the Persian Gulf.

They quickly respond to environmental threats from oil spills and other hazardous substances.

They are essential to communities victimized by flooding.

They provide the ice-breaking capabilities for federal and scientific organizations, keeping the sea lanes open from the polar regions to the Great Lakes.

And, of course, the Coast Guard is famous for their search and rescue missions.

This camcorder footage is from one of their rescue choppers.  A family of four, including a three-month-old baby, is trapped on a drifting sailboat in fifty-mile an hour winds -- and although the footage is not the sharpest, the sound track will give you a clear idea of what these heroes are like.


RESCUER 1:  Okay, basket down?

RESCUER 2:  Okay, basket is going down.  Basket is halfway down, basket is holding five feet over water.

RESCUER 1:  Copy.

RESCUER 2:  Mario has the baby.  Basket hit the water.  Easy, right.  Easy, right.  Easy back and right.  Easy back and right.  Hold... Hold... Basket is on the water.  Basket is out of water.  Okay... you lost them in a wave...  Easy right, easy right... basket is in the water, wave’s pulling them away again... Easy right, basket’s in the wave... easy right, yes... basket’s at them... Okay, now drop the basket, pick up slack, easy back... pick up slack in cable, easy back... Hold position.  Hold position, woman is getting in basket, hold position.  Pick up slack in cable.  Easy right, easy right... Pick up slack in cable, easy right.  Hold, hold... Easy back, easy back... Pick up slack in cable... Left, easy left... Pick up slack in cable.  Easy left... Prepare to take the load.  Easy right, easy right, easy right... okay, taking slack, taking slack... Prepare to take the load... Taking load.  The woman and baby are clear of the water... take it back left.  Clear.  Move back and left...  Clear, move back and left.  They’re coming up.  Now bring them up slow.  Bring them up slow.  Hold altitude... Bring them up slow.  Basket’s halfway up... It’s swinging pretty good.  Hold... Hold position... They’re still about ten feet below the cabin...

RESCUER 1:  Okay, there’s no rush... There’s no rush... We got somebody on board.

RESCUER 2:  Bring them up slow.

RESCUER 1:  Okay, she’s coming up good.

RESCUER 2:  Okay, okay, bring them on up.

RESCUER 1:  I have someone inside, so don’t worry about it, Bob.  Dan, you look back down there.

RESCUER 2:  But I’m not bringing them in back first, I want to bring them in face first because that’s the only way I’m going to get it around the tank.  Okay, I’m bringing them up... I’m bringing them in.

Yep -- Alexander Hamilton would be proud to know that his Coast Guard is alive and well -- and one of its busiest stations is right here at Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach has become one of the most popular tourist attractions on the east coast.  And if you’ve got a couple of Hamiltons to spare, let me recommend a great restaurant -- it’s called Lucky Star, and today its chef, Amy Brandt, is preparing Southwestern Beef.

AMY BRANDT:  Start with an eight to ten ounce of filet mignon -- this is beef tenderloin.  Your butcher can clean it for you or if you’re adept at doing it yourself, do that.  And you wrap the bacon around the meat, and it can be secured with either a toothpick -- I have this fancy metal pick that we use here at the restaurant that works well, so that it’s secured all the way around and this because it’s a leaner cut of meat the bacon helps to protect it and also adds flavor.  Before the beef is cooked, we season it with a Southwestern spice mixture that we make here.  It’s similar to a Cajun mixture: salt, pepper, cumin, dark chili powder made with ground anchote chili pepper, thyme, oregano -- I use a Mexican oregano, it has a little bit different flavor, and that’s about it.  A little paprika for a little coloring.  I use a cast iron pan to cook the steak because of the thickness and the heaviness of the pan, it holds a lot more heat and allows the meat to cook more evenly because it’s a bigger piece of meat that we’re cooking in this pan.  If it was something thin, you’d be able to use a sauté pan.  But I want something that’s going to hold the heat evenly and allow the meat to cook evenly also.  This does make a little bit of smoke in the house so you can grill it outside.  You could also use the cast iron pan on, say, a gas grill outside.  Let it get fairly hot and then do it -- do your cooking outside.  I like to cook it on all sides, especially the side with the bacon, that gives it a little bit of crispness, helps to flavor it.

BURT WOLF:  So you just sear the outside surface ‘til it’s dark and then into the oven.


BURT WOLF:  Roughly how long at 400?

AMY BRANDT:  I would say, to get some information about internal temperature for cooking meats.


AMY BRANDT:  And get an internal temperature thermometer.  If you like it medium rare it’s approximately 130 to 135, and then it goes up from there to medium, medium well, well.

BURT WOLF:  So what are you going to serve with this?

AMY BRANDT:  These are black bean cakes.  They’re black beans have been cooked, cooled and ground.  They’re mixed with diced red bell peppers, green onions, cilantro, chili powder, cumin -- again staying with the Southwestern -- little salt and black pepper and if you like it a bit spicier, which I do, a little cayenne pepper.  They’re dredged in cornmeal and then sautéed.

BURT WOLF:  I can do that.

AMY BRANDT:  Pretty darn easy.  Don’t need a whole lot of oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  You can see in the bottom of the pan that the cornmeal has turned brown, and that gives me an indication that it’s time to turn the bean cakes themselves.  If the cornmeal in the pan is brown, then the cornmeal on the bottom side of the bean cakes is brown.  And that’s true with any sautéing; if you’re sautéing fish or chicken that’s been dredged in flour, then you know if the cornmeal -- I mean, if the flour in the pan is brown, then the chicken on the other side is brown and it’s ready to be turned.

BURT WOLF:  Good thing to know!

AMY BRANDT:  This dish is served with a red chili sauce.  It’s tomato-based, onions, garlic, fresh tomatoes, roasted poblano peppers...

BURT WOLF:  Mmmmmmm...

AMY BRANDT:  ...roasted bell peppers, cilantro -- you can really smell that a lot in this.  The bean cakes go on top of that.  The bean cakes are garnished with a little bit of sour seasoned sour cream that I’ve put in a squeeze bottle, gives it a little bit of artistic flair while you’re adding the sour cream.  Then we’re going to put the beef in the middle, make sure to take out the toothpick or skewer, whichever you used, first so you don’t injure anybody.  And then we’ll garnish the beef.  We’re using roasted pepper strips.  They’re poblano peppers that have been roasted and peeled and seeded and cut into strips -- that goes on the beef.  And then it’s garnished with feta cheese.  You can use a cheese called “queso blanco” which is a fresh Mexican cheese, very similar to feta in taste, but the feta is much more available so that’s why I use that.  That goes on top, and I like to make sure that a little bit goes onto the plate as well -- it mixes well with the flavor of the sauce as well as with the beef.  And that’s that!

For hundreds of years Virginia Beach has been dominated by its relationship to the sea.  Between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, you will find an extraordinary selection of seafood.  One place to sample the local specialties is Chick’s Marina Oyster Bar.

Chick’s opened in 1987 as a down-home neighborhood eatery.  But the freshly-shucked oysters, local fish and simple, straight-forward cooking have given the place a wide and devoted following.  You can sit up at the inside counter, or out in the open dock room.  We ate through the menu and our collective favorites were: Crab Soup Annapolis, Blackened Crab Cake Sandwich with homemade coleslaw, and Chocolate Volcano Pie.

Another location for the local catch is the Lynnhaven Fish House.  The Lynnhaven Fish House was opened in 1979 right on the same beach where the first colonists stopped for four days before they moved up the Chesapeake to establish their settlement at Jamestown.  If the restaurant had been here at the time, Captain John Smith would certainly have taken Pocahontas here for lunch -- most likely at one of the tables with the great views.  I recommend Steamed Lobster, Homemade Hush Puppies, Crab Louie, and Coconut Cream Pie.

One of the other, less edible ways that Virginia Beach honors its relationship with the sea is the program of dolphin watching trips sponsored by the Virginia Marine Science Museum.  During the summer months, the boats leave from Virginia Beach every afternoon.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The great planters of Virginia lived on huge estates which kept them rather isolated from the rest of the world.  And it is in that sense of separation that we find the origins of southern hospitality.  When somebody finally did show up, you wanted to keep them around as long as possible and have them tell you what was going on in the rest of the world.  George Washington actually had two servants stationed at a crossroads with instructions to stop any interesting travelers and bring them home for dinner.  And if my experience in Virginia Beach is any example, southern hospitality is still very much alive and well.  And it is in that tradition that I would like to invite you to join me next time as we travel around the world.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Alaska - #117

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

Fragments of the earth’s crust drifted together to form Alaska.  And they are still very much in the process of drifting and forming.  And what they have formed is already the largest state in the United States of America.  It’s twice as large as Texas and has fifty percent more coastline than all the states in the lower 48 put together.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The native tribes who lived here along the southern coast of Alaska had actually developed a rather capitalist society.  They believed that each family should own their own goods and encourage the family to pursue their own individual economic goals.  Amongst the Tlingits, the more stuff you had the more respected you were and the more privileges you received from the society.  America was really early into this entrepreneur thing.

The Spanish were probably the first Europeans to explore this coast, but the Russians were the first to try and take control.  The Russians showed up in 1741.  Actually, it wasn’t really a Russian.  It was a Dane named Vitus Bering who worked for the Russians, and eventually lent his name to the Bering Straits.  When his crew got back to Russia, they showed everybody the sea otter pelts that they had acquired -- skins that were immediately judged to be the finest fur that anyone in Russia had ever seen.  That did it.  The exploration and the exploitation of Alaska was underway.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The word Alaska comes from a native phrase that means “the object towards which the actions of the sea are directed.”  But it wasn’t only the Russians who were directing their actions towards Alaska.  The British were beginning to nose around.  Captain James Cook came through in 1778 and picked up a few otter skins of his own.  And to make matters even worse, the Spanish were thinking about coming back.  They’d been down in Los Angeles, and when they realized that the movie business wasn’t going to begin for another hundred years, they started moving up along the coast to see what was happening here.

Sure, Alaska was beautiful, and the sea otters made a great fashion statement, but by the 1860s Russia wanted out.  Well, actually what they wanted was to sell out before somebody just took Alaska away from them without making a payment.

A Russian agent went to see William Seward, who was then the U.S. Secretary of State, and somehow convinced him that buying Alaska was the deal of a lifetime.  And at 7.2 million dollars -- or 2 cents per acre -- it was.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  For hundreds of years, the Gastineau Channel along the southern coast of Alaska was a quiet fishing ground for the local Tlingit tribes.  All that changed in 1880 when a Sitka mining engineer offered a reward for any tribal chief who could bring him a piece of gold-bearing ore and show him where that ore came from.  A Tlingit clan elder by the name of Kowee brought in the sought-after sample, and George sent a couple of prospectors down to check out the location.  One of them kept a diary that has the following entry:  “We knew it was gold, but we were surprised to see so much of it, and not in particles -- in large streaks running through the rock and in lumps as large as peas and beans.”  I like these guys.  Not only did they know about gold, they were into good eating.

Their names were Richard Harris and Joe Juneau.  They staked a 160-acre townsite and the gold rush was on.  Originally the town was called Harrisburg, apparently because Harris could read and write and Juneau couldn’t, so Harris did the recording of the claim.  Eventually, however, Juneau got his name back.

Unlike many gold rush towns, Juneau survived and even prospered after the gold rush was over.  Today it is the state capitol of Alaska, and home to about 30,000 residents.  Juneau is on the small side in terms of the number of people who live here, but in terms of area it is actually the largest town in North America and second largest in the world.  It covers 3,108 square miles.  The city clings to the base of two mountains that top out at over 3,500 feet above sea level and literally lock Juneau into its waterfront cove.

There are no roads or rail links into Juneau.  If you’re coming in or going out, it’s by plane or boat.  The boat part is particularly important.  Each summer almost half a million visitors come to Juneau on cruise ships.  Fortunately, they don’t all come at the same time the way the gold prospectors did in the 1800s.

As a tourist there are a number of things of interest in Juneau.

The easiest access to a spectacular view of the area is from the Mt. Roberts Tramway.  Its base is right in front of the dock where the cruise ships tie up, and its top is 1,750 feet above... overlooking Juneau and the Gastineau Channel.

For me, the single most interesting place in Juneau is the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church.  It was constructed in 1894 at the request of a Tlingit chief, and stands as one of the oldest original Orthodox churches in Alaska.  Subdeacon Basil welcomes visitors and explains the history and meaning of the structure.

SUBDEACON BASIL:  The interesting thing about this church is that this building was not built by Russians.  There were never any Russians here in Juneau.  Most of the time when people come here, they’re expecting that there was a Russian community here and Russian missionaries, and they built this church, and that there are possibly descendants of the Russians still here now.  But the case is, ironically, here in Juneau, the native Tlingit tribe themselves built this church rather than Russian missionaries.  And they did that because when the missionaries from the lower 48 were coming here, they were doing services in English and sort of decimating the native cultures.  The natives themselves contacted Russia because they wanted a church that would protect their culture, and encourage their culture, and do services in their language, and Russia responded generously by sending this church, a priest and everything necessary for services.

BURT WOLF:  The iconostasis is very interesting.  What does it mean?

SUBDEACON BASIL:  Well, in general, the iconostasis itself, you know, is usually the first thing that attracts anybody’s attention.  Whenever you come in, it -- the structure itself is actually built in Russia and shipped here.  And the meaning of the iconostasis is not as a wall of separation.  Usually when someone comes in and sees it for the first time, they think, “Well, why are you separating the altar from this area?  It must mean that the priests are more sacred or holy and the people are unholy.”  Which is not the case at all.  The iconostasis, which is this screen, and it actually still exists in Western churches as an altar rail.  And most of the people in the west have unfortunately probably forgotten the meaning of the altar rail.  What it is is when you look around yourself in creation, you see the created world, you see the cosmos, you see people, you see ravens, you see the grass, and mountains, and the fixtures in this church.  And it’s almost as though it’s on a screen before your eyes.  But God is always here present, too -- He’s perpetually present.  But you don’t see God.  What you see is creation, the cosmos.  Well, that’s what this iconostasis represents -- it is a model of the cosmos.

And then those doors, which we call the royal doors, are closed -- that is an image of what we see in the world.  But, if one allows oneself, the eye of your heart opens, and those doors open, and you see God through creation.  So that’s the goal of Christian spirituality, is that you should be seeing God in every blade of grass, in every person most especially.

And we have these six icons, these paintings on here, and they shouldn’t be seen as the iconostasis -- as a solid wall -- but actually a wall with six windows.  These we call icons windows into Heaven, and they are portraying people who are filled with the presence of Christ, and it’s portraying Christ himself.  And each icon is precisely that -- a window into Heaven.  And the reason why most of the time iconographic style or Byzantine art is very unrealistic, it’s very unwestern, European portrait style, is that in trying to portray Heaven, you’re actually showing something that’s a higher dimension of reality, because Heaven is not going to be the three dimensions of space and the fourth dimension of time that we’re familiar with.  You’re going to be looking into a world that’s going to be a higher dimension of reality.  So the iconographers have always used various techniques to symbolize that to us.  And one of them is that the people, the individuals on icons, tend to be almost two-dimensional -- kind of flat.  And then objects will be out of perspective or out of phase.  You’ll see especially objects that should be cubes or like books, you’ll see too many sides of the pages of the book, or various objects are all in wrong perspective.  And again it’s continuing to try to emphasize to you that you’re looking from a three-dimensional world into a higher dimensional world to portray that sort of idea. 

BURT WOLF:  The Orthodox Church has a very distinct cross.

SUBDEACON BASIL:  Right.  It’s not the only cross that’s used in orthodoxy, but it’s very, very much used and it’s very well known and we sort of become identified by it.  It’s an attempt to portray more detail of the crucifixion.  The top bar is the sign that was hung above Christ’s head under the orders of Pontius Pilate that says: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” in the various languages.  Then at the very bottom, you see where His feet were nailed to the cross.  And it’s pointing out at an angle, that bar, because it’s pointing to the two thieves on the right and the left.  And it brings them to mind.  And on the right, there was the thief who asked Christ to remember him when he came into His kingdom.  And then Christ says, “This day, you will be with me in paradise.”  So, it points upwards because that means a soul ascended into paradise according to Christ’s statement.  And to the left, it points downward to the thief who rejected and despised Christ.  And so each time we see that cross, that sort of decision is being placed before us; are we accepting or rejecting Christ on the cross?

The top of the church is -- usually, people who drive by perhaps on a Sunday morning and just see the church would think of it as an onion dome, but of course it doesn’t have anything to do with onions.  What it represents is what it looks like.  It’s a candle flame, and it’s representing the flame of the Holy Spirit that came in the church at Pentecost.

Behind the mountains that form Juneau’s backdrop is the Juneau Icefield, over 1,500 square miles of ice cap, and the source of thirty-eight glaciers, including the Mendenhall.  Mendenhall Glacier is just thirteen miles outside of Juneau and it is one of the few drive-in, walk-up glaciers in the world.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The Mendenhall in Mendenhall Glacier was Thomas C. Mendenhall, the Superintendent of the U.S. Coastal and Geodetic Survey at the time that the border was surveyed between Canada and the United States.

As moisture-filled air comes in from the Pacific Ocean, it runs into the peaks of the coastal mountains.  The encounter causes the air to give up its water vapor and it does so in the form of snow... over one hundred feet of it each year.  Because the air is so cold up here, the snow never melts.  It just gets heavier and heavier, and packs together so tightly that the air between the molecules is lost.  In the process, it transforms itself into glacial ice.  Under this extraordinary pressure, the ice begins to flow.  The Mendenhall Glacier flows down the Mendenhall Valley for twelve miles at the rate of two feet per day.  But it never gets anywhere, because at the same time that it is flowing, it is also melting.  Each day, large chunks of ice break away from the glacier and float off into the lake at its base.  The process is known as “calving.”  In addition, glacial ice just melts away at the front edge.  When the rate of Mendenhall’s flow is compared to the rate of its melting, you end up with an annual withdrawal of about thirty feet.  And it’s been withdrawing since the 1700s.

My home away from home on this trip has been the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Legend Of The Seas, and its next port of call is the town of Ketchikan.  Some folks refer to it as “the first city” because it’s the first major city that you get to in Alaska when you’re coming North along the coast.  Like many communities in this area, Ketchikan started out as a fishing camp.  In this case, it belonged to the Tlingit people.  When European and American settlers came in, they built the waterfront area on pilings that ran out over tidal flats.  It extended the community’s life in many ways -- particularly during Prohibition, when smugglers would row in under the stilts and pass whiskey up into the houses through trap doors.

These days, however, Ketchikan’s fame rests on totally legitimate activities.  It is a major port for people who are interested in charter fishing.  There’s excellent salt water fishing for giant halibut, red snapper, cod and salmon.

Ketchikan is also a center for native art and culture.  About ten miles up the road from town is Totem Bight.  In 1938, the U.S. Forest Service began a program designed to preserve and restore the totem poles that were part of the native villages, and Totem Bight is the present center of their work.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  A totem pole is not an object of worship; it is a silent storyteller that presents the folklore of the people who carved it.  The Tlingits tell a story of a carved log that washed up on the shore and inspired their people to create totem poles.  The Haida tell a story of a master carver who created a housefront and a number of poles during a single night and then taught the villagers how to carve.

This is the kind of community or clanhouse that was built during the early 1800s.  It would have housed between thirty and fifty people who shared the same family lineage.  Each individual family would have had its own space for living, but the fire was shared.  Household gear and blankets were stored under removable floorboards, and foodstuffs were hung from the rafters.

MARY KOWALCZYK:  The screen on the front is a stylized raven.  Paintings on the front of a house were usually just for people who had a lot of wealth.  This stylized raven has two eyes that are elaborated into faces.  First of all, if you can imagine taking a head of a raven, cutting it down the back, and pulling it open so that it would be on a two-dimensional surface, that’s how you would be looking at this.

BURT WOLF:  Oh, isn’t that interesting?  I never understood how they saw it that way.

MARY KOWALCZYK:  And the two eyes, like I said, are stylized, elaborated into a face.  The red u-shape that’s upside-down represents the beak.  The u-shapes on either side of the oval door there represent the tail and the sides represent the wing.  The native people utilized all their spaces when they did a design, so they didn’t want to leave anything uncarved, or anything undecorated, and so that’s how come they filled the face of the house in that way.

The low oval entrance through the totem pole was typical.  It was a good form of protection during periods of conflict.  The straight black beak on the top figure tells you that it is Raven.  A carved box at his feet contains daylight.  Below, there is a mink and a frog standing next to a figure of a man, who represents the story of how the man brought life to the killer whales by carving them.  The figure with the large turned-back beak at the lower end of the pole is Raven-at-the-Head-of-Nass, the powerful chief who owned the sun, moon, and stars.  Below the chief is Raven’s mother.  The legend represented here is the story of Raven creating daylight and bringing it into a darkened world.

Our last official area for exploration was Misty Fjords National Monument, which is just south of Ketchikan.  You can get to Misty Fjords by plane or by boat -- but that’s it.  There are no roads to Misty’s 2.2 million acres of wilderness.  Hundreds of thousands of years ago huge glaciers pushed down from the north.  As they moved along, they carved cliffs that plunge hundreds of feet into the sea.  The granite rock formations display black strips of magma that were formed sixty million years ago when earthquakes cracked through the rock.  Waterfalls pour down from sources hidden in the clouds.  This is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Having satisfied everybody’s hunger for nature, the Legend of the Seas’ crew turns to satisfying everybody’s hunger for dinner.  Actually, they have been feeding us five times each day -- breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and a late-night snack.

But there were a few recipes that I thought you might enjoy taking a closer look at.

Lutz Koch is the executive chef, and his first dish is for a Halibut with Wine Sauce.  Four halibut fillets are seasoned with a little salt and pepper.  A tablespoon of butter goes into a sauté pan.  As soon as the butter melts, the halibut goes in, followed by a quarter of a cup of fish stock.  A cover goes on the pan and the fillets simmer for eight minutes.  While the fillets are cooking, the sauce is made.  A tablespoon of butter goes into a saucepan and is stirred until it melts.  Then a quarter of a cup of shallots are added.

BURT WOLF:  You know, if you don’t have shallots, you can use chopped onions, it’s still fine.

A half cup of white wine goes in and everything boils for two minutes.  A half cup of fish stock is added, and simmers for two minutes more.  Then a cup of light cream goes in and cooks for an additional two minutes.  The liquid is then thickened with one tablespoon of cornstarch that has been blended into a half-cup of cold water.  A few drops of Worcestershire sauce.  A bit of stirring.  Salt and pepper.  A half teaspoon of lime juice, and finally a teaspoon of chopped fresh dill.  Everything is mixed together, simmers for a minute, and we’re ready to plate.  The fish goes down, the sauce on top, and a sprinkling of fresh dill.  This is a nice dish to serve with rice or boiled potatoes.

CHEF LUTZ KOCH:  Okay, we have some chicken breasts, we make a nice walnut sauce with it.  And what I have to do first -- I salt and pepper them, on two sides, of course, and dip them afterwards in flour.  If you have a nice family’s chicken [sic], you will see this will be excellent dish for the Sunday dinner.

Two tablespoons of olive oil are poured into a hot pan and then heated.  The chicken breasts go into the pan, skin-side down.  They’re cooked for four minutes on each side and then removed from the pan.  Half of the oil is then drained out, and a half-cup of chopped onions go in.  Then two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar are added.  A minute or so of cooking, and then a half-cup of white wine goes in.  A tablespoon of cornstarch that’s been dissolved in a mixture of water is blended in to thicken the sauce.  Next, three-quarters of a cup of chopped walnuts.  A minute or so of cooking to heat everything up, and the chicken returns.  Eight more minutes of cooking, and the dish is ready to serve.  Some chefs add a touch of cream and a little Scotch whiskey or port wine to the sauce.  The vegetables go onto the plate, then the chicken, the sauce, and a few more chopped walnuts on top.

Finally, there is Baked Alaska.  After all, we are cruising in Alaskan waters.

CHEF LUTZ KOCH:  ...and I will show you; you need three-color ice cream, and we cover this with sponge cake, and after the sponge cake we use meringue.

BURT WOLF:   Oh, that’s easy.

CHEF LUTZ KOCH:  Easy.  Very easy.

BURT WOLF:   Okay.

It’s kind of like aluminum siding.

CHEF LUTZ KOCH:  After the sponge cake you use meringue.

BURT WOLF:  Whipped egg whites with sugar.

CHEF LUTZ KOCH:  Sugar.  Plenty of sugar.

BURT WOLF:  Let’s put it on.


BURT WOLF:  The sponge cake and the meringue work as an insulator, so when the heat heats the ice cream, it doesn’t melt.

BURT WOLF:  Now, normally at home you would finish this off by taking a blowtorch and just browning it on top, but no open flames are allowed on ships.  So we’re going to do this by flaming some rum and pouring it on top.


Did I say “no open flames?”  I meant “no open gas flames.”  This is fine.

This whole dish has a glacier-like quality... especially the receding edges.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Well, those are some of the more beautiful and interesting parts of southern Alaska, and thanks to the cruises on the Inside Passage, they’re comfortable and easy to get to.  And I hope it will be easy for you to get to us next time as we travel around the world, looking at the ORIGINS of some of the things that surround us.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Chicago - #115

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

Twelve thousand years ago this was a huge glacial lake.  It covered what is now North America’s midwest.  As it receded, it left wide prairies, the Great Lakes, and shores of swamp.  The marshlands that were right here, at the southwest corner of what we presently call Lake Michigan were overgrown with wild onions -- onions that gave off an intense odor.  The native tribes called the place Checagou, which means great strength.

Today we call that spot Chicago -- and it is stronger and sweeter than ever.  Chicago is the most American city in the United States.

The origin of Chicago’s importance lies in its location.  To the north and east are the Great Lakes, and the St. Lawrence Seaway running out to the Atlantic Ocean.  To the south is a network of rivers that join the Mississippi and flow down to the Gulf of Mexico.  Chicago is the control point between these two waterways and people have been using it as a central trading post for thousands of years.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The first permanent settler was Jean Baptiste Point DuSable.  He was the son of a French-Canadian merchant and an African-American slave.  In 1779 he set up a trading post on what eventually became the most important shopping street in Chicago.  His sense of place was absolutely perfect.  His sense of timing, well... maybe he was a little bit early.  But you’ve got to give him credit for being the first guy in the neighborhood, and that’s very important because today Chicago is clearly a city of neighborhoods.

A neighborhood at the heart of the city is called The Loop, which is a reference to the elevated train that loops through the area.  The Loop and the streets around it are the cultural epicenter of the city.

There’s the Museum of Contemporary Photography with an outstanding collection and excellent study facilities...


            There’s the world famous Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera.

The Museum of Broadcast Communications will give you a look at the history of radio and television in Chicago.

You’ll also find the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium.

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the great museums of the world with an important collection of French Impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.

Walk across the bridge over the Chicago River and shop along The Magnificent Mile.  Chicago is the place where the big storefront window was invented.

One of the great things about Chicago is its waterfront.  Many American cities have waterfronts -- New York, San Francisco, New Orleans -- the problem is accessibility.  In most of the waterfront cities very little of the waterfront is easy to get to.  But that’s not the case in Chicago.  The lake front is an integral part of the town.  Lake Shore Drive runs for 124 blocks and it offers residents and tourists easy access to beaches, water sports, outdoor dining, space for biking, jogging and roller skating.  Plus dozens of boat tours.

One of the most successful developments in resent years is Navy Pier.  It juts out into the lake for over half a mile and is packed with attractions.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Chicago has always been a haven for African-Americans coming up from the south, but the two biggest migrations took place after the First and Second World War.  They settled in the south side of Chicago because it was close to the train station where they arrived, and it was near the available work.

Today, the Bronzeville district is being restored and has become an important area for African-American heritage tours.

Between 1840 and 1925, tens of millions of people immigrated from Europe to the United States.  The majority passed through Ellis Island in New York.  But when they got off that island they passed on to other cities and one of the most popular was Chicago.  Irish, German, Italian, Polish, Eastern Europeans and Scandinavians came to Chicago.  Today, this town has more Eastern Europeans, Scandinavians and Greeks than any other American city.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  My grandmother and my mother were immigrants to Chicago.  They came from Warsaw and they arrived here in 1910.

This is a picture of my mother and her sister, taken in a Chicago photo studio in 1915.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The neighborhoods that developed around each of these immigrant groups are still here and they have been joined by Asians and Mexicans.  What makes these ethnic neighborhoods different from those in other American cities is that here in Chicago they are easy to get to and they welcome visitors.  As a matter of fact, the Chicago Office of Tourism runs tours into the neighborhoods each week.

One of the most significant events in the city’s history was the Great Chicago Fire, which took place in 1871.  The cause is still under investigation but the results are well documented.  Within days after the fire, the city passed a law calling for all new buildings to be constructed of fireproof stone and brick.  Chicago began to rise again.  The new construction presented an extraordinary opportunity for talented architects.  The construction that took place after the fire and the enormous work that went into the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 led to the development of the Chicago style of architecture... a style that has influenced the entire world.

Rolf Achilles is an art historian who teaches at the Art Institute of Chicago and writes about the architecture of his city.

ROLF ACHILLES: Chicago’s a unique architectural museum.  Here you can study the whole history of contemporary modern architecture from the mid-nineteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century.  Thin-wall construction, thick-wall construction -- everything is here.

The Reliance Building -- a radical departure from traditional architecture.  It’s a whole new way of building in 1891, and it’s a superb example of the Chicago school of architecture.  It sets a trend that goes around the world; the big plate glass windows in the center let in lots of light, it flows in about fifteen feet on the inside, allows for maximum workspace.  The walls are very thin, compared to traditional wall strengths.  It’s all about selling space and floor space.  The more floor you’ve got, the more you can rent.

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe had designed these two towers in 1949, we’re at 86880 North Lake Shore Drive.  Mies was a classicist.  He loved Greek architecture, and what we’re seeing is a square Greek column; fluting on the outside, light goes across, casts shadows, the building always in transition.  Radical in its day, it becomes the standard form for corporations to build in because there’s an enormous amount of space rentable inside.  It’s a functional building, and corporations do like function.

BURT WOLF:  And he got away from the corners and kept it round like a column by that little thing that he does.

ROLF ACHILLES:  Right, the little thing that we can see precisely the way he works around the corners is something the Greeks never really solved, but Mies did in the course of the 1940s and ‘50s.

Twenty years later, students of Mies Van Der Rohe designed the John Hancock Building, which at the time was the world’s tallest building.  The support structures, which you can see in those X’s, are on the exterior of the building, which made the outside stronger and gave more rental room on the inside.  Chicago architecture is often driven by two forces: the desire for artistic achievement, which has produced some of the most beautiful buildings in the world, and equally important -- the desire to be profitable.  Chicago architecture is the blending together of culture and cash.

As Chicago rebuilt after the fire, it took on a greater importance than ever before. Chicago’s location made it the transportation hub for America’s agricultural heartland, which in turn made it a center for food processing.

The Chicago Union Stockyards opened on Christmas Day in 1865, and were big enough to hold 10,000 head of cattle and 100,000 hogs.  In those days, our nation was more interested in pork than beef.  At first the yard just fattened and shipped live cattle.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  And then Gustavus Swift arrived from New England and started slaughtering and packing the beef and shipping it all over the country in a new invention -- the refrigerated railroad car.  At first, the railroads tried to stop him because they made a lot more money shipping a live cow, but he was too swift for them and eventually won out.

The salt needed to preserve meat in the days before refrigeration made Chicago a salt trading center which led to Chicago’s Morton Salt Company.

In 1879, a man named John Stuart moved his mill from Canada to Chicago.  Today, it’s known as The Quaker Oats Company.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  William Wrigley was a baking powder salesman.  And every time you gave William an order he threw in a free piece of chewing gum.  Unfortunately, the baking powder business was failing, but everybody loved William’s gum.  So in 1906 he went out of the baking powder business and into the gum business and introduced Wrigley’s Spearmint.

But Chicago is also a great place for restaurants.  Ambria has been called the most popular restaurant for Chicagoans.  Contemporary French food, excellent service, and a beautiful art nouveau setting.

Perhaps the most influential restaurateur in Chicago is Richard Melman.  He runs a company called Lettuce Entertain You, and since 1971 has built over seventy restaurants -- including The Everest Room, Shaw’s Crab House, and The Big Bowl.  He is a true lover of traditional Chicago food, the down-home stuff.

The Chicago Stockyards made this city the beef capital of the world, which is presently reflected in its love of steaks, hot dogs, and Italian beef sandwiches.

RICH MELMAN:  Well, I don’t know of any other place that has Italian beef but Chicago.  They take this roast beef and they cook it with a lot of herbs and spices and so forth like that; they cook it very well done, they cut it real thin, they dunk it in their wonderful au jus --  that’s maybe another key -- it’s served on great Italian bread, and I put a little sweet peppers on top and I think it’s heavenly.  I mean, it’s a real treat to me.  I can’t go more than three or four months without having one, I get cravings for it and this is where I come when I get the cravings.

BURT WOLF:  You need a little Italian beef running through your blood all the time.

RICH MELMAN:  Absolutely. Absolutely.  It just tastes great.

BURT WOLF:  And they have this Elegant Dining Room that they advertise.

RICH MELMAN:  Well, that’s what they say.  I don’t know how elegant it is...

BURT WOLF:  Elegance is in the mind.

BURT WOLF:  That is definitely a deep dish.

RICH MELMAN:  Oh yeah, this is a meal.

BURT WOLF:  Well, it’s not the traditional pizza that I grew up eating.

RICH MELMAN:  No.  You know, Ike Sole, the guy that created this pizza, you know, supposedly the story goes, that he wanted to create a pizza that was more than just a snack, that was really a meal.  And this is what he came up with, and this started the thick pizza craze all over the city of Chicago, and it really has become something that’s all over the country now.

BURT WOLF:  Why do you think it’s so popular?

RICH MELMAN:  You know, it’s an acquired taste probably, I know that people in Chicago love it, and I think that’s certainly one of the important things.  And I think it’s also inexpensive.  You get a whole meal, you know, three or four people can eat out of a pizza here.  You got two of these slices, that’s just about enough.  I think you probably eat for under ten dollars.  I mean, that’s why I like it.

And then there is the authentic Chicago-style hot dog.  It starts as an all-beef sausage in a natural casing that snaps when you bite it.  It’s grilled or boiled -- boiling keeps in the juices -- and they are served on a steamed poppy-seed bun.  But that’s just the foundation.  Chicago’s history as the home of the skyscraper seems to have affected its approach to hot dogs.  The yellow mustard goes on, then the green relish, chopped raw onions, a slice of pickle, peppers and finally tomatoes.  This is as much about construction as it is about cooking.

BURT WOLF:  Is there a method for eating these?

RICH MELMAN:  I think the trick is not to get it in your lap.  And I think you want to hold it over -- I’d hold it straight up.  Good hot dog.  They’re very famous for their cheddar fries.

BURT WOLF:  French fried potatoes and Cheddar cheese.

RICH MELMAN:  Mmm hmm.  Yep.

BURT WOLF:  Anybody ever hear the word cholesterol?  Or is that kind of like a foreign language?

RICH MELMAN:  Well, people know what cholesterol is... I don’t know if you want to eat this every day.

BURT WOLF:  Ah, that’s the secret: everything in moderation.

RICH MELMAN:  Exactly.  Exactly.

BURT WOLF:  I’ve been pretty moderate so I’m going to have another bite.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   And I love the names of some of the hot dog stands: Relish The Thought; Red Hot Mammas; Dog Day Afternoon; Wiener’s Circle; and my personal favorite... Mustard’s Last Stand.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  As I mentioned, Chicago’s first permanent resident was half French-Canadian and half African-American, so Chicago’s African-American heritage goes all the way back to its beginning.  And you can feel the impact of the African-American heritage throughout the city.  But Chicago’s African-American culture has extended it’s importance throughout the world.  A perfect example of what I mean is the Chicago Blues.

The Blues is a musical tradition that became the roots of rock and roll.  Willie Dixon was one of the great men in the business, and before he died in 1992 he founded The Blues Heaven Foundation.  The foundation is housed in the old Chess recording studio on Chicago’s South Side.  The primary objective of the organization is to educate blues artists in the business aspects of making music.  Willie Dixon’s daughter Shirli is a director of the foundation.

SHIRLI DIXON:  I was at a friend’s house and she was listening to the radio, and on comes this song “Whole Lotta Love.”  And I said, “You know, that’s my dad’s song.”  Well, as we looked at the album there were other songs on there that he was credited for, but not this one.  And he says, “Oh sure, I wrote that song for Muddy many, many years ago and I’m sure they’re paying me for it, we just need to go look up the royalties and make sure I’m being paid.”  Well, no payment.  It was really tough for him to decide to do anything about it, so it took two years before we decided that there was no way to resolve it.  And his idea was, “If I ever get through this, if I’m ever successful, I’ll make sure that my fellow bluesmen and women will not have to go through the same challenges that I’ve had with this” and with other songs that have had samples of his sound.

We have a copyright and research area as well as a number of attorneys that volunteer their time to assist the artists when there is an issue in a contract.  And what we call it is “moral persuasion.”  Because we have to make sure that when the artist goes in that they know there’s people behind them in order to get the issues resolved.

If you’re visiting Chicago and would like to school yourself a little in the blues you can stop into any one of a half-dozen good clubs.  One of the best is Buddy Guy’s Legends.  Eric Clapton called Buddy the world’s greatest guitarist.

BUDDY GUY:  I was checking into a hotel in New York, and I wear this ring which says “Blues” and the couple who was checking me in was husband and wife and they made a comment that, “Ooh, blues, it make you cry.”  And I looked and I said, “Oh yeah?”  And I gave them two passes to come and see me that night, and the next morning when I got ready to check out, they were crying saying, “Because I danced all night, I didn’t hear nothin’ sad by you.”  I said, “Stop going by what you hear.  Only a little bit of  what you see.  Go see for yourself.”  It’s almost like a good meal, you know?  I’m from Louisiana, you know, if you don’t eat it yourself, can’t nobody really tell you how good it is.  I mean, you can sit there and imagine how good it is, but you gotta go taste it yourself.  And to me, that’s what blues is -- go and listen to it and then come back and tell me whether you like it or not.

When I pick up my guitar, I’m going to give you everything I got and more.  And a lot of young people, I think, today say is, “I just want to show you who I am.  I don't have to give you my best, I’m just that good.”  And that doesn’t go too far with me.  You know, I’m not that good.  You know, I just have to give you everything I got, then even if you don’t like it, you can look inside of me and say, “You know, that guy gave me all he had.  And that’s all he got.”

Buddy uses his club to present some of the finest talent in the business.  Tonight we’re listening to Lynne Jordan.

One thing that is sure to help keep the blues away is a visit to Chicago’s Four Seasons Hotel.  It’s located on the Magnificent Mile, and its rooms start on the thirtieth floor!  The hotel has all the elegance and professionalism that has made the Four Seasons group famous, but it also has a few touches that are unusual.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   When you check in, they can issue you a “900” card that will get you discounts on the things you buy in the shops downstairs.  They have special suites designed for families traveling with children, baby bathrobes and children’s toys are included.  They have the only rooftop running track in the city and they have an in-flight menu.  When you check out, they will make a basket of food for you that tastes good, is good for you and will free you from eating on the airline.

Their restaurants have some of the highest ratings in the city.  Today the sous chef, Douglas Anderson, is going to make one of the hotel’s signature dishes -- a warm Chocolate Cappuccino Tart.

He starts by melting two and a half ounces of butter in a quarter cup of heavy cream.  That gets poured over eleven ounces of bittersweet chocolate, which has been flavored with a teaspoon of instant coffee.  The chocolate melts and cools down a little as it’s mixed, at which point five egg yolks are blended in.

Eight egg whites have been whisked together with a quarter cup of sugar, until they stand in peaks.  Chef Anderson uses granulated sugar, because confectioners’ sugar usually contains cornstarch, which would affect the recipe in ways we’d rather not talk about.  The egg whites are carefully folded together with the chocolate.

CHEF DOUGLAS ANDERSON:  It’s so important that you take your time with this and you use a rubber spatula and not a whisk, because if you use a whisk and knock out those beautiful airpockets, what will happen is your soufflé will never rise.

What we have now is the batter for a chocolate soufflé, which is used to fill little cups made of chocolate shortbread.  This is a standard shortbread recipe with a little added cocoa -- but the soufflé mixture will work just as well in a ramekin.  The tarts go into a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for twelve minutes.  When they come out, they’re served with a caramel sauce and a dollop of pecan ice cream.

One of the manifestations of Chicago as the most American of American cities is its love of sports.  The Chicago Cubs play at Wrigley Field, which is one of the oldest major league baseball stadiums still in use.  It has been refurbished but not redesigned, and it feels the way a baseball park must have felt in the old days.  It’s a wonderful experience to come out to an afternoon game and see what baseball was like when it became our national sport.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  I have an enormous respect for baseball.  It can teach you one of the great lessons of life.  If a batter were to a hit a ball three out of ten times, he would be batting three hundred, which would make him a superstar.  The other half of that equation, of course, is that he would be failing seventy percent of the time.  Baseball can teach you to accept failure, feel good about yourself, and keep on trying.

In addition to the Cubs, Chicago has the White Sox.  The White Sox play baseball at Comiskey Park.  In addition, there are the Bears... the Blackhawks... and the Bulls.  There is an entrance fee for professional sporting events, but Chicago has an unusual program of events that are free.

The Mayor of Chicago and the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs believe that a city cannot survive unless the citizens enjoy their environment.  They also believe that tourists must be able to join the local residents having a good time.  To make that possible they have set up a series of free festivals, cultural events and recreational activities.  And it appears that Chicago has more free cultural events than any city in the world.

There are Latin music festivals, jazz festivals, blues festivals, gospel festivals.

There are free rides on the elevated trains that go through the Loop with guides that explain the architecture and history of the area.

And then there is a food festival called The Taste of Chicago, which celebrates the ethnic history of the city.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Free events like these remove cultural barriers and offer an opportunity to people, both tourists and residents, to enjoy each other and the event.  And I hope you enjoyed visiting Chicago with me and that you will join me next as we travel around the world looking at the ORIGINS of some of the things that surround us.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Palm Beach County - #111

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

Palm Beach County sits on the east coast of Florida, about sixty miles north of Miami. Its beaches run along side the Gulfstream, which comes up from the Caribbean and gives the area the only semi-tropical climate in the continental U.S. -- mild temperatures in the winter, refreshing breezes in the summer. The location was developed during the early years of this century as a playground for the rich.  If you were rolling in money you could come to Palm Beach and roll in the sand -- or perhaps in the hay.  The man behind the blossoming of Palm Beach was Henry Morrison Flagler.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Henry Flagler was the industrialist who built the railroads that opened up Florida during the early years of this century.  He had a number of interesting strategies for getting people to come down and live along side his railroad, but for me the most interesting was his plan to get a group of Japanese to leave Japan, come here and recreate their home village in what is now Palm Beach County.

In 1903, Flagler encouraged a group of Japanese farmers to come to Florida and raise pineapples.  For twenty years they struggled with their farms.  But when the Florida real estate boom of the 1920s arrived, they gave up and sold their land.  There was, however, one colonist who remained.  His name was George Morikami and he worked in his fields until his death in 1976.  He also amassed a considerable amount of land and became quite prosperous.

Near the end of his long life, he donated two hundred acres to Palm Beach County to be used to honor the memory of the original colony and to build a cultural bridge between his two homelands.  Today, it’s known as The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.  The park has a pine forest, waterfalls, and lakes inhabited by golden carp, turtles and cranes.  In Japanese folklore each of these animals is associated with long life and good fortune.

There’s a traditional Bonsai garden.  Bonsai is a technique that allows the grower to produce a miniature version of a tree or plant.  The park also has an example of the dry Japanese gardens that are made from stones and sand.  Complex to design properly, but just my kind of garden when it comes to upkeep.  I like anything that can be fully maintained by vacuuming.

Morikami also has a series of exhibition galleries with Japanese artifacts, crafts and toys... A teahouse where a tea master demonstrates the ancient art of the Japanese Tea Ceremony... A cafe with excellent Japanese food... and a museum shop that’s about to get all my per-diem expense money.

The museum also presents a series of classes where traditional Japanese arts are taught.  Central to the art of Japanese flower arranging is the ordering of nature -- taking simple things and making them very important, a technique that was often used by the people who originally built Palm Beach.  Take, for instance, the story of Paris Singer.

Paris Singer was one of the seventeen illegitimate children of Isaac Singer, the founder of the Singer sewing machine company.  He was also a member of the Palm Beach crowd.  Paris had a pal named Addison Mizner who was living in New York and in bad health.  Singer convinced Mizner that he could regain his health by moving to Palm Beach.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Mizner had come from a prominent California pioneering family.  His father had been a U.S. Ambassador to South America, and Addison grew up living the good life.  He had been a decorator who worked with successful architects, a real estate developer, a painter, a collector of rare antiques, he had also been a successful gold miner and a boxer.  Let me tell you, Palm Beach County was his kind of place.

He showed up just as one of Florida’s land booms was getting underway and he soon became a very popular architectural decorator.  Singer and Mizner lived it up in Palm Beach while building it up for Mizner’s clients.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Mizner was actually not the perfect architect.  It appears that his memory for detail was sometimes impaired and he would forget little things -- like the kitchen in a huge mansion.  What can I tell you?  Mizner had a lot on his mind, and in 1925 he decided to do his own thing and he built The Cloister Inn.

Which is now known as the Boca Raton Resort and Club.  The Mizner style is all over the place and it’s great.  He loved Spanish architecture, gardens, Moorish fountains, antique furniture.  The present owners love golf, croquet, tennis and the beach.  But they’ve been able to keep the Mizner feeling throughout.  When you want to go from the original Cloister property to the new resort on the beach, they run a beautiful little boat up and back every ten minutes.  And in the tradition of Boca, they love good food.

Let me introduce James Reaux, the executive chef.  Today he’s going to prepare a pecan-crusted chicken breast.  James starts with a skinless chicken breast with almost all the bones removed.  The wingbone stays in but only because James thinks it makes a better presentation -- and it does.  The chicken is painted with a light coating of mustard... then a little salt and pepper.  A cup of bread crumbs and a cup of roasted, chopped pecans are mixed together.  The chicken is dipped into the breadcrumb and pecan mixture to give it a nutty crust.  A tablespoon of vegetable oil is heated in a sauté pan.  The chicken goes in and cooks for thirty seconds on one side and a minute on the other.  Then into a 350-degree oven for ten minutes.

James makes a salsa as follows.  A ripe banana is peeled and sliced -- that’s about a cup’s worth.  That goes into a bowl, followed by a half cup of red bell pepper that’s been diced... then a half cup of yellow bell pepper, also diced.  A teaspoon of chopped fresh cilantro... a half of a jalepeño pepper, coarsely chopped... then the juice of a fresh lime.  Then a tablespoon of light brown sugar goes in.  A little salt and a little black pepper.  A little mixing and into the refrigerator to rest for an hour.  Now it’s time to plate.  A tower of mashed potatoes goes onto the center of the dish... then the chicken... the salsa... and a simple abstract sculpture made from fried strips of banana and scallions. Art you can eat.

And now a little more art, but this time it feeds your soul.

Palm Beach County is the home of the Norton Museum of Art, which is considered to be the finest museum of art in the state.  It was founded in 1941 by Ralph Norton.  Norton had been the head of the Acme Steel Company in Chicago.  When he retired to Palm Beach he decided to use his personal collection as the basis of a public museum.  The museum now contains representative works of the French Impressionists and the Post-Impressionists -- including Cezanne, Matisse, Monet, Renoir and Gauguin. The American art from 1900 to the present features works by Hopper, O’Keefe, Motherwell, Pollock and George Bellows.  There’s also a very interesting collection of Chinese work, including ancient bronze, jade and ceramics.

DAVID SETFORD:   This is a great painting by Picasso from 1924, and here you have a table with... It’s called The Red Foulard.  This is the foulard, or a scarf, printed scarf with a pattern printed on it.  And here you see a bowl with fruit in it and a guitar and of course Picasso was so keen on music, because he felt that all the senses -- music, visual art, and sound, and everything went together, and that’s what I think he was trying to evoke in a painting like this -- everything at the same time.  The joys of all the senses, and as I say, I think, I feel that you could actually lick this painting it’s so gorgeous -- the paint work is so luscious.  It’s creamy like one of those wonderful icings you get on some cakes.

Well, this one’s by Robert Delaunay who was living in Paris around the same time as Picasso and people thought he was a cubist but you can tell he wasn’t a cubist because it’s not all angles.  In fact, he developed this language, this artistic language based on orbs, you know.  These orbs.

BURT WOLF:  An orbist.

DAVID SETFORD:  That’s right.  But at this point in 1916, he was in Portugal having a really wonderful holiday in Portugal.  And this is a memory of one of his breakfasts...

BURT WOLF:  Breakfast?

DAVID SETFORD:  In Portugal.  Here’s his dressing gown, bottom left-hand corner. 

BURT WOLF:  Watermelon.

DAVID SETFORD:  Wonderful watermelon with a slice taken out of it that you can imagine him eating.

BURT WOLF:  Seeded watermelon.

DAVID SETFORD:  Seeded watermelon.

BURT WOLF:  Poor guy.


BURT WOLF:  Pears...

DAVID SETFORD:  ...and probably small oranges...

BURT WOLF:  Right.  Or really old eggs.

DAVID SETFORD:  Or really, really rancid eggs.

BURT WOLF:  Do you think that there’s a particular group of painters that painted more food than others?  Did the French paint more food than the Spanish or the Americans, or different periods...?

DAVID SETFORD:  Well, I think the French love food.  And I think that the French painters around the turn of the century and the early twentieth century -- because they had this thing about one sense building off the other sense; they love to get food into the paint and actually some of the actual paintwork is actually delicious and you get the feeling you could almost eat it.

BURT WOLF:  So the French general love of food carries on into their art.

DAVID SETFORD:  Carries on into their art, yes.

This work is by Gustave Courbet, about 1871 to 2, one of the great realist painters of France and look at those fabulous fruit you feel you could really pick those up off the bowl.  Now, the funny thing was, that at the time Courbet -- wasn’t that funny, he was in prison!

BURT WOLF:   For his paintings?

DAVID SETFORD:  No, actually politically.  He’d been imprisoned after the fall of Napoleon the Third because he was suspected to have engineered the mob that pulled down the Napoleonic column in the Place Van Dome in Paris.  And apparently he hadn’t, but anyway they threw him in prison, and he was languishing in prison, dying of starvation because he loved to eat.  He did a wonderful job, I think, of these very tactile fruit, but sometimes he didn’t even have a canvas to paint on, so sometimes he had to paint on his palette like you see over there, and there’s a Courbet painting...

BURT WOLF:   Wow!  On a palette.

DAVID SETFORD:  On his palette.  Painted at the same time in prison.

When Renaissance artists like Michaelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci were working on a big painting or a wall fresco, they would start by sketching the work out on a large piece of paper. The full-scale drawings were made in the artist’s studio, then taken to the wall to be painted and held up against the surface as a pattern. The large pieces of paper were known as cartone, which is where our word cartoon comes from.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   During the middle of the 1800’s England was very busy building a new palace for its Houses of Parliament.  Prince Albert, who was married to Queen Victoria, thought it would be nice to cover the inside walls with frescos -- and so he held a competition.  When everybody got a look at what had been sent in, it was apparent that the fresco had fallen on evil times.  The stuff was terrible.  A magazine called Punch decided to make fun of the entire affair, and they published a series of drawings called Punch’s Cartoons.  That stuff was very funny, and everybody got a kick out of it.  Within weeks, the word cartoon came into the English language with its present meaning.

This is the International Museum of Cartoon Art and it is located in Boca Raton, Florida.  Its collection is the largest in the world, with over 170,000 works on paper, 10,000 books, and a thousand hours of animated film.  There are comic strips, comic books, editorial cartoons, and sports cartoons.  And some cartoons I take very personally.

BURT WOLF:  So you had the first cartoon to go underneath the North Pole...

MORT WALKER:  I also had the first cartoon that was faxed, over a fax machine...

The museum was originally set up through the efforts of Mort Walker.  Mort is the creator of one of the most popular cartoon characters of the 20th Century -- Beetle Bailey.

BURT WOLF:   What’s your definition of a cartoon?

MORT WALKER:  It’s a very simple drawing that capsulizes a human event.   I like to think of it as a universal experience that everybody has had that the cartoonist takes and crystallizes it and comments on it and brings it to the reader with a minimal effort so they all understand, and they say “That happened to me!”

BURT WOLF:   Do you have to be able to draw?

MORT WALKER:  Well, sometimes it hurts the cartoonist...I always advise people not to take art lessons, because how could you draw an arm like Popeye if you’re familiar with anatomy? You know?  You can’t do it.

Well, the greatest thing about being a cartoonist is that you don’t have to dress, you don’t have to get out into the elements and go to work or drive a car and face traffic -- you just work right at home, you work in your shorts, you can eat when you want to, you can take naps when you want to... The only difficult part about it is that you’re lying there in your Barca-Lounge chair, with a piece of paper in front of you, staring at the ceiling, and you try and convince people that you’re working!  And they come in and they say, “Would you take out the garbage?”  “I’m sorry, I’m busy --”   “You’re busy like fun you are, you’re just staring at the ceiling!”  But then, the greatest thrill is to be with a blank piece of paper and you take your pencil and you get an idea and you write it down and you realize, “That idea didn’t exist before.  Anywhere.”  And you created it.  And it may live for two, three hundred years -- there are cartoons here in this museum that are a hundred, hundred and fifty years old and people are still laughing at ‘em.  And that’s the greatest thrill.  Laughter is good for the whole body, you know?  I just cut this out of the paper this morning, from Ann Landers.  It says, “Nobody says you must laugh, but a sense of humor can help you overlook the unattractive, tolerate the unpleasant, cope with the unexpected, and smile through the unbearable.”

It may look like just another orange grove in Palm Beach, Florida, but it is considered to be the site of a new industry.  It’s called Agratourism, and it combines farming and tourism, and Palm Beach is the perfect place for it to get started.  At the Callery-Judge citrus groves an old-fashion tram takes you on a tour of a four thousand acre grove.  And Stan Bronson makes it pretty interesting.

STAN BRONSON:  We have approximately 485,000 trees here at Callery-Judge; we have six varieties of grapefruit and eleven different varieties of specialty-type fruits, such as navel oranges, many different types of tangerines -- right here we’re entering into a block that was planted in 1965.  It is a combination of temple oranges and Orlando tangeloes.  Most people don’t realize what the tangeloes are, but they’re hybrids between two different varieties.  It was developed in 1937 by the USDA, and it was a combination of tangerines and grapefruit.  Most people don’t realize that.  Most people think it’s a combination of tangerine and oranges. ... In the case of grapefruit, if you do a blindfold test you’ll find that the color of grapefruit really makes no difference because they’re chemically identical inside.  And there is really no difference between the sweetness of white grapefruit and red grapefruit -- they are the same.  But our eyes play tricks on us, because of the fact that when we see that red color we think, “Wow, that must be really sweet!”  And it really has nothing to do with the sugar level inside.

BURT WOLF:   It’s that old line -- “You eat with your eyes.”

STAN BRONSON:  You sure do, you sure do.  When you’re in the supermarket, the first thing that you should look for is -- obviously, being prejudiced, coming from Florida!  Another thing you should look for is flatness, especially in grapefruit.  The flatter the fruit, generally the thinner the skin.  And so that’s one thing to look for, is flatness in the fruit. 

BURT WOLF:   So I’m not gonna look for a round one, I’m looking for one with a flat top and a flat bottom.

STAN BRONSON:  Flat top and flat bottom, especially on grapefruit.  Now, you won’t see that on oranges, but on grapefruit you will.  Another thing to look for is a very smooth texture on the skin, and that’s going to make a -- generally, the smoother the texture of the skin, the less peel that you have, so the more juice you’re gonna have in the fruit.

Palm Beach County is also the home of the PGA National Resort and Spa.  No one’s quite sure when golf got started, but we know that during the 1400s the Dutch played a game they called kolf, which means “club” or “stick.”  But they played it on frozen canals.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  At the same time, the Scots were playing a game that is clearly the ancestor to modern golf.  It became so popular, that in 1457 King James II and the Scottish Parliament sent out a proclamation forbidding people to play the game.  The king felt it was taking people away from archery, a skill that was essential to the survival of the nation.  Of course, the Scots kept right on playing, and they played on little grassy hills by the sea called “links”  -- a word that is still used to describe a golf course.

The PGA National Resort and Spa is clearly designed to meet the obvious needs of the golfer, with courses and classes and equipment shops.

The spa has also addressed the physical needs of the golfer in other ways, and some of them are rather unusual. The spa has a collection of pools called the Relaxing Waters Of The World.  They import famous healing salts from all over and add them to their pools.  This one is a flotation pool with salts from the Pyrenees.  Lots of calcium, potassium and magnesium.  And this one contains mineral salts from the Dead Sea. Seawater normally contains 3.4 percent salt.  Dead Sea water contains 27 percent salt.  So if mineral baths are your thing, the Dead Sea is the liveliest.

The resort has also developed a spa cuisine called “Florasian,” which is a cross between the foods of Florida and the foods of Asia.  It’s low in fat, low in salt, low in calories, but fortunately it’s high in taste.

Clearly, the PGA National Resort and Spa is a great destination if you’re looking to play a big game of golf.  But what if you’re searching for just Big Game?

Safari is an Arabic word that means “trip.”  It was originally brought into the English language to describe a hunting expedition to East Africa.  The primary objective of the safari was big game hunting, but almost all the hunters were charged with additional responsibilities that were political, commercial and scientific.  Many of them were sent out by the British Royal Geographic Society.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Now if you love wild animals and the sensation of being on safari, but you like to have that feeling in the comfort of your own air-conditioned automobile, which, quite frankly, is much more my style, then I recommend to you a visit to the 500 acres of the Lion Country Safari in Palm Beach County.

FRED VOLPE:  To the left here we have our spider monkeys from South America...

Fred Volpe is on the staff, and he makes it interesting and fun.

FRED VOLPE:  Now this section here is Lake Nocaru and in Africa it’s home to your East African Crowned Cranes, known for its bright plumage.

BURT WOLF:  Great hair.  It’s got Don King’s hair.

FRED VOLPE:  And also they’re noted for their mating rituals where they hoot, they jump, they dance around their mate.

BURT WOLF:  Ah, like my kids.  Same mating ritual.

FRED VOLPE:  Of course we have our flamingoes.  And they get their color from their diet.

BURT WOLF:  Which is?

FRED VOLPE:  Well, shrimp.

BURT WOLF:  So they’re that color because they eat the shrimp shells.

FRED VOLPE:  Beta carotene -- same thing found in carrots -- and if they didn’t they’d just be another white bird.

BURT WOLF:  Amazing.

FRED VOLPE:  And now we’re getting ready to come into the Serengeti Plain which is home to most of our animals.

BURT WOLF:  And some ostriches.  Do they really stick their head in the sand when they’re afraid of something?

FRED VOLPE:  Oh no.  Not at all.  These animals are nine-foot tall, three hundred and fifty pounds, and they can deliver a very swift kick with their feet.  They’re almost prehistoric looking.  One ostrich egg can hold a quart of water, and nomadic tribes used to use those as canteens.  The first canteens.

BURT WOLF:  Must make a heck of an omelet, too.

FRED VOLPE:  And now we’re entering our state-of-the-art “elephant pad.”

BURT WOLF:   Lions afraid of elephants?

FRED VOLPE:  Lions will not attack an elephant.  And if they’re at a watering hole, they will wait.  They can weigh ten to twelve thousand pounds; they’re eating machines; and they’re very intelligent animals.  And of course you can tell they’re African elephants because their ears are shaped like the continent of Africa.  Their tusks alone can weigh...

BURT WOLF:    Wait, wait...That’s very interesting.  You can tell that they’re African elephants because their ears are shaped like the continent of Africa.  That’s right!  Isn’t that amazing?  Rhinos!  They really look prehistoric!

FRED VOLPE:  They’ve been on the planet for fifty million years.  Though they weigh eight thousand pounds, these animals can run close to twenty-five miles an hour, and they can turn on a dime.

BURT WOLF:   They just don’t care about the cars!  I love this!

FRED VOLPE:  They’re very content.

BURT WOLF:   They know who’s in charge -- them!  Here kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty...

FRED VOLPE:  Breakfast is being served -- meat.  Of course, the female is the most aggressive and does most of the hunting and mostly runs the pride.  Though these animals weigh three to five hundred pounds, they could run sixty miles an hour for about a quarter to a half a mile, and these animals can leap about twenty feet and usually they break the neck of their prey before they even hit the ground.

BURT WOLF:   I probably get a better look at the animals here than I would if I went to Africa.

FRED VOLPE:  Yes.  If you go to Africa and you see a pride of lions, you’re surely not going to see any of the species in that area.  And we’ve been here now for thirty years; last year we did 465,000 people drove through the Lion Country.  I guarantee you always see something different.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  I couldn’t leave Lion Country without telling you my favorite Safari joke.  It’s about these two guys who were out on Safari, and suddenly they notice a hungry lion heading for them.  First guy jumps up and starts to run.  Second guy starts to look around, pick out the shoes he would like to run in, pick out a shirt that would look good.  First guy yells back “Come on, Harry!  We gotta out-run the lion!”  And Harry answers, “No, I just gotta out-run you.”  I, on the other hand, have no intention of out-running you, because you are my audience and without you I am nothing.  So I hope you will stick with me and join me next time as we travel around the world

looking at the ORIGINS of the things that surround us.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Charleston, South Carolina - #109

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

Charleston, South Carolina. At the time of the American Revolution in 1776 it was the wealthiest, most beautiful and most sophisticated city in North America. It had the busiest port in the colonies and was often called “Little London.” Today you can walk through the historic streets of Charleston and get a clear sense of what early America looked like.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  And the reason that everything in Charleston is pretty well preserved is not because of the city’s traditional wealth.  As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite.  Charleston has remained pretty much intact because of the devastating poverty that resulted from the War Between The States.  At the end of that war, just about everybody in Charleston was broke -- so when it came to maintaining their homes, they were either too poor to paint, or too proud to whitewash.  Things stayed pretty much as they were.  It was preservation through poverty.

The first English settlers came to the area in 1670. King Charles II marked off a stretch of land that ran from Florida to Virginia and gave it to a group of his friends. The king’s pals formed a company and started sending settlers. They built huge plantations where they lived during the winter months. But from May to October the plantation owners got away from the heat by living in town. They spent big bucks building big townhouses that had a very distinct style.

Most of the homes in town were called “single houses” and were only one room wide. The gabled end faced the street. The front door was one flight up and opened onto a porch which was called a piazza. The piazza connected to the home. There was also a front door on the ground floor which led from the street to the rooms where the merchant conducted his business. This is the classic Charleston home, and an early example of the work-at-home office.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The planters became extremely wealthy and arrogant.  They lost touch with the economic systems that were operating in the rest of the world.  They became dependent on slavery, and led the movement for secession from the Union.  The first shots of the Civil War  were fired from Charleston.  And at the end of that war, Charleston was a disaster area, but the people of the city were able to remember the best of their past and rebuild.

In 1929 Charleston passed the nation’s first historic zoning laws, and the people of Charleston continue to do everything they can to preserve the beauty of their past.  

John Meffert is an authority on historic Charleston, and in the tradition of Southern hospitality, he’s taking me on a tour.

JOHN MEFFERT:  And what you see here is one of my favorite places in the whole city.  Look around you.  What’s missing?  What do you notice is missing?

BURT WOLF:  My home.  One of these should be my home.

JOHN MEFFERT:  One of these should be your house.

BURT WOLF:  My name should be on one of these homes.

JOHN MEFFERT:  Well, if you had a million dollars, we’d get you one for your own enjoyment... But what’s missing otherwise?  Street wires.  Have you noticed, there are no street wires.

BURT WOLF:  Oh, yeah -- no street wires.

JOHN MEFFERT:  The city, long ago, said, “We’ve got to improve the district,” and started to remove the wires from the city streets.

BURT WOLF:  So this is what it pretty much would have looked like in the 1700s.

JOHN MEFFERT:  Take the cars away and you’d have a fairly good image of what the city might have been.

BURT WOLF:  Ah...Could you have a grip take the cars away, please?  We want to have a really authentic shot here.  These things are important.

JOHN MEFFERT:  We’re at the Four Corners of the Law, and this is the heart of the city -- heart of the city’s National Historic Landmark district.  And it’s called the Four Corners of the Law because right here, just behind you, is the county offices which is the County Office Building which has been there since 1792.  Behind us here is the City Hall, which has been here since 1801; across the street we have the Federal Building that was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1886; and next door St. Michael’s, the Episcopal law, which generated and controlled the colony in the earliest days.  So these four laws are what the city of Charleston is all about.  The law of the state, the law of the city, the law of the church, and the law of the federal government.  Even though we didn’t agree with all those laws at one time.  But, as we come to it today, these are all buildings protected and they illustrate the city seal.  She guards her buildings, her customs, and her laws.  And here I think we’ve done a wonderful job of keeping the continuity of those laws as you see in the buildings that still survive from each century of this wonderful city’s history.

I also thought you might like to meet a man who has a slightly different point of view.  His name is Alphonso Brown.  He was born in Charleston County and knows it well.

ALPHONSO BROWN:  On my tours I show many of the basics like shown by most Charleston guides, but my tour focuses more on the black side of the history of Charleston.  I tell about many black slave owners, I tell about strange graveyards and et cetera -- different type things here in Charleston that other tour guides, I don’t know whether they have time to tell them, but they just, I just have a different twist to it.

BURT WOLF:  Now that’s a big deal house there, isn’t it?

ALPHONSO BROWN:  Aiken-Rhett Mansion.  Beautiful, too.  Governor Aiken was one of our governors here in Charleston, and that was his home.  Notice the dingy yellow portion in the back.

BURT WOLF:  Why are the windows filled in?

ALPHONSO BROWN:  Yeah, they don’t fill them in, they were made that way, and of course they gave it that design to give it a nice look.  They were false windows.  You know slaves, it wasn’t nice for the slaves to have so much communication with the outside world, so you fill it in, you keep it private.  So, Aiken-Rhett Mansion.  Upstairs was the slave quarters, downstairs was the stable.  Many time, people have asked me where in the city can they go to see slave quarters in its original state -- are there any?  That’s the place.  I guess if the slaves were to come here now and see the place, they would probably say, “My God, y’all haven’t done anything with the place since we left?”

This is the old slave mart.  I told you all the slave marts were gone except for one.  This is the old Runyon slave mart -- he and his son open up their business in 1852, they were considered brokers.  They had a large office space on Queen Street, one block over.  Then, behind the office space and a little over to our left, there was a huge three-story building known as the slave jail.  Both buildings are gone now and the space is Queen Street one block over.  Behind that, we had this -- it was a courtyard which is now a parking lot.  It was from the courtyard where the slaves were placed out there to be inspected before being auctioned off in this building.

BURT WOLF:  There are a lot of people who feel that the bad things in the history of the United States should be pushed away and hidden and torn down, I’ve heard that view.  I think it’s important to keep these...

ALPHONSO BROWN:  Of course!  It is important.

BURT WOLF:  ...and many things like it up to remind us not to get into this again.

ALPHONSO BROWN:  That’s right.  You may forget.  It is a part of history.

Charleston’s love of its past and its desire to retain the traditions of southern hospitality also show up in its hotels. This is Charleston Place.  It’s right in the center of the city’s historic district and it blends together the style of the 18th century with the comfort and convenience of the 20th century.

The first thing you see when you come into the building is this double staircase that sweeps around an enormous crystal chandelier that is made up of over 3,000 individual pieces. It was brought to the hotel from Venice.  

            To the side of the entrance hall is the Lobby Lounge, which serves afternoon high tea in the style of Great Britain. Tea sandwiches. Small pastries. Lemon curd tarts. Truffles. Fresh scones.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  There are a number of British food authorities who believe you should put the jam on the scone first, and the Devonshire cream on top.  When the cream hits your tongue, it gives it a light coating and helps spread out the sweetness of the jam.  It was Lord Twining of the Twining Tea Company  who told me that in the old days, you always poured the cream in the cup before you poured in the tea.  It was before refrigeration and you wanted to make sure that the cream was still good before you poured the tea in.  And in those days, the tea was much more expensive than the cream.

Around the corner in Charleston Place is a hall of shops including Laura Ashley, Gucci and my personal favorite, Godiva Chocolates -- a small box of which ends up on your pillow every night.

You can pop across the street to the Riviera Theater, which was built in 1939 and recently purchased and returned to its original Art Deco beauty by Charleston Place. It has been designated as a city landmark, and it’s also the hotel’s state-of-the-art conference facility. 

You can advance your abs, pick up your pecs and burn your calories in the fitness center, which has a heated indoor/outdoor pool, a retractable glass roof, a fully equipped exercise room, steam rooms and saunas.

And, of course, you need a place to take in those calories before you burn them off. The Charleston Grill will take care of that. It’s well-known for its classic Southern dishes.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   All of the luxury here in Charleston Place is very much in keeping with the history of the city.  Unlike the early colony in Massachusetts, where the population was interested in a sparse and Puritan lifestyle, the people who came to Charleston were interested in the lifestyle that was as close to that of the King of England as possible.

King Charles was known as the Merry Monarch.  He loved the good life -- great homes, fine food, lots of parties, horse racing, to which he gave the title “The Sport Of Kings.”  He was also very interested in romance.  He had a rather large collection of mistresses, and fathered more than a dozen illegitimate children.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   It was often said that King Charles was the father of his people, or at least, a great many of them. Charleston was his namesake city and part of its original plan was to reproduce a fun-loving gentry in the American colonies.

Bob Waggoner is the executive chef at Charleston Place, and this recipe is for a South Carolina specialty called Beaufort Stew.  Now, this is not the type of food that he makes for the hotel’s restaurants, but it is what you would get if you came out to his place for a down-home Sunday lunch in the garden.

He starts by putting pieces of smoked pork sausage into a big pot. Bob uses a quarter pound of sausage per person. They browned for about two minutes. Then five cloves of sliced garlic are added and cook for a minute more. Three quarts of vegetable or chicken stock are added and a few tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning -- which is a mixture of fennel, celery salt, cloves, peppers, ginger, mace and cardamom. 

BURT WOLF:  If  you don’t have Old Bay Seasoning, can you use New Bay Seasoning or another equivalent?

BOB WAGGONER:  Perfect... No problem!

Then he adds a little salt and pepper and a few bay leaves.  All that simmers for about fifteen minutes. Then six new potatoes cut into quarters go in. Five more minutes of simmering. Next some baby corn or two or three ears of regular corn cut into pieces.

BOB WAGGONER:   Now we’re going to add the crayfish.  Our live little guys.  Which are obviously not gonna...You want to get them in and stir them around as quickly as possible because obviously they’re not... not as happy as they could be in there.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA): There really is a good reason for cooking the shellfish while it’s still alive.  When a shellfish like this dies, a bacteria develops on the surface of the skin.  And that bacteria can be pretty dangerous.  The only way to avoid the bacteria is to cook the shellfish while it’s still alive.

The crayfish cook for about three minutes. Then two pounds of freshwater prawns.

BOB WAGGONER:  What you want is just to throw these guys in just at the last, you know, two-three minutes of the cooking time.  Crayfish, they can sit in there and, you know, and cook away, that’s not a problem, but these guys are definitely going to toughen up.  So you just want to let it,  obviously bring it down, let it simmer right there at the end, the last two to three minutes, and away we go!

Next -- one cup of little tomatoes or big tomatoes cut into little pieces.

BOB WAGGONER:  And obviously you can use chopped Roman tomatoes, whatever kind of tomatoes you have.  I’ve just got these little currant tomatoes handy, so I figured I’d throw them in.  And this is obviously one of those recipes -- if you don't have tomatoes, you don’t add tomatoes -- if you don’t have green onions, you don’t add green onions.

BURT WOLF:  It’s my kind of recipe.

BOB WAGGONER:  If the corn, you know, you couldn’t get the corn, you don’t add corn.

BURT WOLF:  Only what’s on special.

BOB WAGGONER:  That’s it.  But obviously all of them add to a special flavor that blends together.

One more minute of cooking and the liquid gets strained away from the solid ingredients and the solids get turned out into a serving bowl. A few chopped green onions on top and it’s ready to go.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   In 1669, Carolina published its first constitution which stated that any group of seven men or more could come together, form a church, call it what they wanted to, and be free to practice their religion.  But that document also stated that no man would be allowed in Carolina who did not acknowledge and worship God. So freedom of religion was not quite the same as freedom from religion. Eventually, so many houses of worship were built in Charleston that it became known as a Holy City.

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church is the oldest church in Charleston.  Its cornerstone was set in place in 1752.  The clock tower has been a beacon for sailors and is the oldest functioning colonial clock tower in the country.

The original First Baptist Church was built on this site in 1699 by a congregation that had come to Charleston to escape religious persecution in Maine. The present building, which is in the Greek Revival style, dates back to 1822.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   During the late 1600’s over forty thousand French Protestants, known as Huguenots, left France in order to avoid being persecuted by Louis XIV.  Many of them went to England where they were welcomed by King Charles II, who also subsidized a group that came here to Charleston.  Along with the group that came to Charleston came a letter from the King telling the government here that the Huguenots would be particularly valuable because of their skills in making silk and wine, which had previously been French monopolies.

This is Charleston’s Huguenot Church, which was erected in 1845.  It was the first church in Charleston to use the Gothic Revival style.

And this is the Beth Elohim Synagogue. It dates back to the middle of the 1700s, and is the oldest synagogue in continual use in the United States.  It was the first synagogue to install an organ, and stands as the home of Reform Judaism in America.

The historic buildings of Charleston, South Carolina are protected by the codes of the Historic Charleston Foundation.  The plantations are protected by the staff of the National Trust.

Preserving our architecture is important, but Charleston also has a national treasure that is very much alive.  This is the blacksmith Philip Simmons, who has been officially certified as a National Treasure by the Smithsonian Institution.  Philip was born on Daniel Island, near Charleston, in 1912.

When he was thirteen he walked past a blacksmith shop and was fascinated by the fire, the sounds of the hammers, and the work that was going on.  He apprenticed himself to the blacksmith and over the next few years learned how to shoe horses and make the ironwork that was needed for the wagons of the time.

But time was running out for blacksmiths. Horses were being replaced by cars and blacksmiths were going out of business. Philip loved his work and refused to give it up.

He stopped making horseshoes and started making gates and fences. Today the city has hundreds of examples of his ironwork. His art trims Charleston like a ribbon of lace, connecting the city’s past to its present.

The old building that has been his workshop for most of his life is not quite the facility I expected of a National Treasure, but it makes the point that the genius of a craftsman is in his mind, not in his tools.

PHILIP SIMMONS:  You tell me what you want, and while you’re talking I’m trying to sketch something for you, and most times I sketch what they want.  And I was able to sketch things, you know, that they really accepted.  That’s what sketching is all about; I like to put it on paper and let the customer see what they’re gonna get.  Some come to me and tell me to make them something -- “Oh, go ahead, you can make it” -- I say, “No, let me sketch it,” and let them look at it, because sometimes you may sketch a piece and when you carry it to them or they come for it, they say “Oh, that isn’t what I want!”  So my motto is, you sketch it and let them see what they’re gonna get.  People was telling me that, “Philip, the blacksmith’s becoming a lost art; what you gonna do?”  But you know, always gonna be something for the blacksmith to do.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The business that Philip Simmons went into when he decided to become a blacksmith almost disappeared when cars replaced horses, but there’s an important story here -- real craftsmanship transcends specific products and addresses itself to the changing needs of the public.  You can downsize an industry or a company, but you cannot downsize the heart of an artist.

As the War Between The States came to a close, Union troops marched through the area surrounding Charleston and destroyed every plantation in their path, with one exception: Drayton Hall.  There’s a story that the owner, John Drayton, was a doctor and he sent his slaves to the edge of the property to tell the Union troops that the building was being used as a smallpox hospital.  We don’t know if that story is true, but the house was clearly spared.  Today it is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Just down the road is a property called Middleton Place.  It was the family home of four generations of Middletons.  Henry was the President of the First Continental Congress.  Arthur was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Arthur’s son Henry was the Governor of South Carolina and our Minister to Russia.  Henry’s son Williams was a signer of the Ordinance of Secession, which led to the War Between The States and eventually to the destruction of his family home at Middleton.  That’s what the great house looked like at the end of the war.

The main building was destroyed, but some of the most magnificent gardens in the United States were saved. They were originally laid out in 1741, which makes this America’s oldest landscaped garden and one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the nation.

CHARLES DUELL:  So this, as you can see, is the canal; it’s about 800 feet long and it really marks the western boundary of the garden, punctuates it on a north-south axis and perpendicular to other axes that run east-west, and we’ll see throughout this old part of the garden how very geometric everything was.  How that mind of the early 18th century, coming out of 17th century France really focused on man-made, kind of, secure spaces that were all, you know, “just so,” and perfect geometric forms, and all interconnected and very much man controlling nature.  It gave way to the romantic period when man was supposed to be controlled by nature, just God created everything.  Fortunately, here at Middleton Place we have, we have both elements.  And when the Romantic movement came along, it didn’t destroy the Classical garden;  the Romantic garden was simply added at the extremities.

So, Burt, as we go down these alleys that are really straight tunnels of camellias that bloom more from November until spring, you get views of the house that kind of lure you to the invitation to come visit the house.  That, of course, is only a third of what was the full house before the Civil War.  There was the central part that was the family residence, a north flanker that was the library and musical conservatory, and the remaining south flanker was simply the least badly damaged during the war and afterwards restored as the family residence then.

Coming through the rose garden or sundial garden you see this collection of roses that are really first propagated in the 18th to 19th century -- early roses, and that leads us down toward the Middleton Oak, which is the granddaddy of all of our live oak trees.  It was here, of course, long before the garden, and the garden design accommodated it.  Probably knocking on 900 or 1,000 years old, it’s a huge tree with a thirty-five foot circumference, and 145 feet of limb spread, and I like to think it really has an important spiritual quality as well.  I think coming in and standing under it and just listening to it.  It’s been here for hundreds of years, it must have incredible stories of things that have gone by it over time.

BURT WOLF:  It’s a sense of being welcomed underneath it.

CHARLES DUELL:  It is a very -- it’s a place to be quiet and really listen to it.

I think they were really perhaps trying to say something to their cousins back in England that out here in the boondocks, we can live just as elegantly as you can in the Mother Country.  So they really built a grand garden to kind of show off to their elder, you know, primogeniture elder son, cousins, all.

BURT WOLF:  We can do it in America.


BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   The first wealth in Carolina came from  merchant traders.  The really great fortunes were amassed by planters.  Planters who were planting rice.  There are a number of books that tell the story of the first rice coming to Carolina on a ship that pulled into Charleston for repairs and paid for the work by giving seed rice to the planters.  But many historians believe that the first rice came to Carolina with slaves from West Africa where rice had been a traditional crop for hundreds of years.  Either way, it’s quite clear that the West African slaves taught the white planters how to cultivate the rice crop.

In Africa, baskets were used to separate the rice from the chaff and those precise baskets were reproduced on the plantations from the local sweetgrass. Today you can walk through Charleston and see those same baskets from West Africa being reproduced and sold.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   We may never know the precise details of exactly who brought what to this land, but the history of Charleston makes one thing perfectly clear -- a free and open society gives its people the best opportunity for long-term economic success. You could see that in 1680 when Charleston was founded, and you can see it here today.  And I hope you will see me next time as we travel around the world looking at the ORIGINS of some of the things that surround us. I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Virginia Beach - #107

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these ORIGINS help us understand why we live the way we do.

When we look at the history of the first settlers in what became the United States of America, more often than not the theme of the story is the search for political and religious freedom.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  That was certainly true for many of the colonists. But there were also hundreds of people who crossed the Atlantic and settled in because they thought they could make a buck.  And many of those people were employed by corporations that were in the business of setting up colonies purely for profit.  One of those corporations was known as the London Company.

On the 26th of April, 1607, one hundred and five of the London Company employees arrived here on the coast of what eventually became the city of Virginia Beach. They explored the area for four days, then moved inland and started the settlement at Jamestown.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Archaeologists point out that a number of distinct civilizations have been living in the Virginia Beach Area for over 11,000 years.  The Spanish were exploring the spot in the 1520’s.  But the first Europeans to actually settle in and become residents were the guys who worked for the London Company.  They had spent their first four days here wandering around these beaches in an area which eventually became known as Princess Anne County.

It was named after England’s Princess Anne, who became England’s Queen Anne in 1702.  She was a good queen and she made a nice chair.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  When the English government decided to try and recover some of the money that it had invested in the development of the colonies, plus what might be described as an overall management fee, the people of Virginia began to play a very active role in the Revolution.

One of the first things that George Washington did after he became President was to authorize the construction of the first federal lighthouse. You can still see it in the First Landing State Park.


During the late 1800s people began to appreciate the value of the seaside resort. In those days guests usually came for the day and rented their bathing suits.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  An early indication of the popularity of Virginia Beach can be found in a newspaper article of the time reporting that on a particular Sunday so many people had showed up at the hotel that all the available bathing suits had been rented.

Today Virginia Beach is the largest city in Virginia with nearly 500,000 residents. And over two million visitors stop by each year to enjoy the beach.

As you travel along the boardwalk, one of the buildings that you will pass is the DeWitt Cottage.  It’s the last surviving turn-of-the-century Virginia Beach oceanfront building, and it has been restored as a wildfowl museum. Visitors get a short lesson on coastal birds and decoy carving.  By the end of the 1800s the Back Bay area of Virginia Beach was a paradise for duck hunters. There was even a train called the “Sportsmen’s Special” that brought hunters down from the Northern states.

BILL JOHNSON:  As it became more and more known that the birds were here in great numbers, to the point even where they say they darkened the sky, when they flew, when they’d get up in the morning flight, so the afternoon flights coming back to roost they would “darken the sky,” quote-quote.  The people who enjoyed the shooting sports and could afford to travel and actually have lodges did that.  They built lodges here, big hunt clubs here.  Those hunts clubs had to have caretakers, they had to have guides, they had to have boats built, they had to have decoys -- functional objects that were made for the purpose of bringing game in range of the shotgun.  Today we look at those functional objects as art objects.

BURT WOLF:  And the ducks really thought that these were real....

BILL JOHNSON:     The ducks, the ducks actually... I think the ducks are dumber than we think they are, frankly.

BURT WOLF:  It’s quite a collection you have here...

BILL JOHNSON:     Oh, thank you.  This is, we love this museum, we try to preserve the heritage of the hunt club era, the old decoys, the art of the decoy, that’s what our purpose is; basically, to show the folks what it was like and to show them the art of the decoy, both old and new...

BURT WOLF:  You also had some really interesting models that I liked.  I’m a big fan of models like this... what’s that?

BILL JOHNSON:     This is a unique invention that was called a sink box because if you’ll notice the box underneath it is shaped somewhat like a boat or a little coffin...


BILL JOHNSON:     And it’s basically designed for a man to lie down in and be at the same level as the water.  In other words, if his head were popping up, it would look like a duck’s head.  And it was designed with flexible wings on either end on the sides that were hinged, and their purpose was to float with the waves so that it would not take any waves in the box.  Literally, from a low angle where birds would be approaching it would look like a dark spot on the water to them. 

BURT WOLF:  What an amazing piece of equipment. What’s happening around here these days?

BILL JOHNSON:     Well, today, I think, and not just in our area, but I think probably throughout the whole country that the people that do hunt waterfowl, are more into it from what’s called an aesthetic standpoint.  They don’t really care so much about whether they bring back a pile of game -- or “mess of game” is the way we used to say it.  But they go for the pleasure of working with the dog and working with the boat and actually just being outdoors, enjoying, enjoying the outdoors, the whole history of waterfowl and being in Back Bay and being part of that whole scene. 

This is the Adam Thoroughgood House. Today it’s one of the historic houses of Virginia Beach and a good place to take a look at what life was like around here in the 16- and 1700s.

NANCY BAKER:  We have some wonderful lighting devices at the Thoroughgood House --17th Century pieces.  Now, this particular lamp is called a Phoebe lamp or a five wick light, and you know it’s a Phoebe when you see the drip pan underneath because that would take care of some of the drips.  They would put their wicks in each one of the openings and light their wicks, of course the drip pan would catch the drips.  Now it has a sharp point, so they could take that and stick it up into a door frame or ceiling beam or hang it on a nail or peg.  It even could be hung over the back of a chair, so if someone was trying to read, they could hold it over the back of their chair.     Now, the oil was interesting that went in the pot.  They would use fish oil, whale oil -- if they could get whale oil, it was better.  A certain amount of whale oil, when it was burned, would give off as much light as a 60-watt electric bulb we have today.  So you can see why they preferred it. 

Now some of our candleholders that we have, this one is the favorite of everyone, which is the courting candle holder.  Now, when a young man would go to a young lady’s house to court her, her father would bring out this candle holder and set it on the table between the two young people.  He would push the candle all the way down in there and light it.  It depended on how well the father liked this young man how long he would let him stay and visit with his daughter.  So the father would light the candle, and then he would point to a ring on this.  When that candle burned down to that ring the young man had to go home.  So it was sort of like a colonial clock to tell him his time was up. 

I was wondering about the wicks in the 17th century.  They did use cotton, flax, wool, and also in the lamp sometimes they would just put an old twisted rag, so anything they had.  So I found out the wicks in the 17th century would not consume themselves, they just kept burning.  So you had this big charred mass on top of the candle and it would cause a big torch up here, which in turn caused guttering -- gutters of hot wax running down on everything.  So they had to fix it.  Now these were invented, I think they were using them in the 1500’s.  A little scissor device; they would trim off all that wick, it would go in here, and they would throw it in the fireplace.  For some reason, they called the charred mass of the wick “snuff,” so when they invented this they called it a “snuffer.”  The wick would be ensnuffed, so they would cut that off.

BURT WOLF:  “Snuff it out.”

NANCY BAKER:  Snuff it out.  That’s right.  And there was an art to this because you had to try to put it out without putting out the flame.  So you did not want to do that.  Now if they were finished with the candle for the day they would use one of these.  In the beginning it was only a cap, they had to hold it over the flame to put out the candle.  17th century is when they finally got smart and they put handles on them like we have today.  So this is the snuffer to take care of the wick’s snuff, this is the candle extinguisher to extinguish the flame. 

So, Burt, I hope that has shed some light on the subject.

BURT WOLF:  I feel very illuminated.


The years between 1720 and 1740 are often described as Virginia’s “Golden Age.” It was a time of increasing commercial prosperity and intellectual achievement. In 1732, in the middle of this period, the Francis Land House was built. It reflects the elegant lifestyle of the Virginia planters who lived here at the time.  During the summer months there are demonstrations of various household skills as they were practiced during the 1700’s.

VICKI HARVEY:  In eighteenth century Virginia when they wanted to change the color of wool which was white, usually from the sheep on the plantations, they would go out in nature and find things that they could use to dye with.  Many herbs like indigo would give you blue, or they would use something we throw away today, onion skins, and it would give us a nice bright yellow.  And what Susan is doing in the background is using an open fire and an iron pot, which acts as a mordent or a fixative to the cloth, and will also change the color.  Copper will give you a different color.  So what we have done in the very beginning is we have taken the wool from the sheep and we have washed it.  And in washing the wool it gets all the lanolin out of it and it makes it nice and fluffy.  And now we’re soaking it in water in a washtub which would’ve been made by a cooper on the plantation, and she is going to take that out and put it in the iron pot where she has some onion skins that have been boiling in some hot water.  And the color change is almost instantaneous.  These are a couple of examples of spun wool that have been dyed in onion skins.  In one case chrome was added to the water, and in another case there was copper added to the water.  And if you think you’re gonna get a different color from using red onion skins, well, that’s not true.  It’s keratin that’s in the skin and that’s what’s gonna turn everything a shade of yellow.  And any color you want today I can find for you out here on the grounds.

In eighteenth century Virginia the colonists had to make everything from nature and even their clothes.  And one of the crops grown here at The Francis Land House was flax.  And flax was used in the production of linen cloth.  If you have anything made of linen at home, it started in somebody’s field as the flax plant because you cannot get it anywhere else. 

SANDY CRAIG:  This is a flax break, it’s used to soften the stalk and break it up.  The fiber grows around the stalk on the outside of it and you can see the little tiny white pieces of stalk or “boon” on the table now.  Now we’ll go to the skutching board.  This skutching board is English style, the people who lived here were English, and this is how they would have used it.  The skutching is a good beating given to the flax to further soften the stalks and then the skutching knife scrapes the little bits of stalk that are left in the fibers.  Now we heckle the fiber or comb it.  See how the flax is getting combed as we go to the finer heckles.  This is now ready to go to the spinster, and the minute it passes from her hands onto the wheel it will become linen.  It is no longer flax.  It’s the only natural fiber that changes its name in its processing.

VICKI HARVEY:  Francis Land House has a lot of different kinds of gardens, a vegetable garden, and an herb garden and a formal garden.  Of course the vegetable garden this time of year would have great bounty for the colonists to use.  Things like marigolds which you might not think you’d use to eat with, but they did sprinkle them on their food.  And they also would begin the process of storing food.  This is the time they’re thinking about the winter and how they’re gonna keep the food preserved for those winters ahead.  From the garden they would get lots of green beans, and they would take those beans and string them on string, hang them up on the hearth, and all throughout the winter time they would be drying, and then when they got ready to use them they’d reconstitute them in water and they’d have green beans in their stews or whatever they were eating.  They would call them leather britches.  We don’t know why, we think maybe they looked like, they thought they looked like leather britches when they dried.  But they were just a very good way of preserving the beans through the winter.

And speaking of food, let’s check out some of the restaurants in Virginia Beach.  This is a picture of Angelo Serpe when he first started eating at his father’s restaurant in Italy. Clearly his father was a good cook.   And this is Angelo today cooking for his wife... his children... his grand-children... and his customers.  His restaurant is called Pasta e Pani -- Pasta and Bread -- and it has become well-known along the Virginia coast for good food and an atmosphere that makes you feel that you are in a family restaurant... which is, of course, precisely where you are.  Part of Angelo’s fame comes from a dish he calls Fettucine Hunters’ Style.  He prepares it on a wheel of cheese.

ANGELO SERPE:  I’m gonna put some garlic... some olive oil... get it a little slightly brown.  Okay, I put in the portobello mushroom... I’m gonna let it simmer for a few minutes... next will be the Marsala wine... next will be the tomato... now gonna go in the sundried tomato... gonna go in with some salt and pepper... have already the pasta... let it go for a couple of minutes... then I’m gonna go on the wheel.  Now I am gonna add some cheese.  While I’m turning the pasta, I’m scraping the cheese.  The heat from the pasta is melting the bottom and it blends in.  Now at this point I would like to put in the basil, which I’m gonna break with my hands which I feel gives better taste and it keeps nice bright color.  Okay, toss a little more... I go to dish it out...

BURT WOLF:  And that’s it: Fettucine Hunter’s Style!

And at a restaurant on the beach called Timbuktu, Chef Willie Moats is making his famous seafood cakes.

WILLIE MOATS:  Okay, we have lobster here, we have gulf shrimp and we also have the lump crabmeat. 

BURT WOLF:     All cut up.

WILLIE MOATS:  All cut up, all chopped, ready to go to make potato-chip-encrusted crab cakes.

BURT WOLF:     Show me what you do.


A half-cup each of pre-cooked crabmeat, lobster and shrimp go into a mixing bowl, followed by a tablespoon and a half of mustard... two and a half tablespoons of mayonnaise... a quarter of a teaspoon of dried parsley and a half tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.  The next ingredients into the bowl are a half teaspoon of Tabasco sauce... a tablespoon of horseradish and a little salt and pepper.  There’s an optional moment here where some pre-packaged seafood seasoning and a Cajun spice mix are added.  If you’ve got ‘em and you like ‘em -- use ‘em!  Then an egg and four tablespoons of bread crumbs go in.  Willie is using Japanese bread crumbs, which are bigger and crispier than the standard crumb, and if you can find Japanese bread crumbs in your market, I think you’ll enjoy them.  Then everything gets mixed together... shaped into cakes that are about two inches in diameter, and rolled in flour.  The special touch is a final coating of crushed potato chips.  At which point the cakes are pan-fried in vegetable oil that has been heated to 350 degrees.  They’re cooked on each side for a few moments, and then they’re ready to serve.

Throughout its history, the development of Virginia Beach has been dominated by its relationship to the sea.  One of the ways that Virginia Beach pays tribute to that relationship is the newly expanded Virginia Marine Science Museum -- a mixture of hands-on interactive exhibits...  live animal habitats... and a 300,000 gallon aquarium.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Because of the reduction in financial support from governments, many educational institutions in the United States have been forced to reduce their staff and accordingly their educational programs, but that’s not been the case here at the Virginia Marine Science Museum.

They’ve been able to come up with a system that allows them to run the facility with a staff that is sixty percent unpaid volunteers, and it works extremely well.

C. MAC RAWLS:  We utilize on a regular basis this time of year about 325 people a week who come in and give us four hours of their time here at the museum.  Most of the things they do are to offer services to visitors out here on the floor.  It’s easy to get a smile out of a volunteer, it’s easy to get a volunteer to be excited about this place and they do a good job of selling as well as educating people.

The northern shore of Virginia Beach borders on the Chesapeake Bay.  It was the spot where in 1781, a French fleet inflicted so much damage on the British Navy that the British were unable to support the English army at Yorktown -- a tactical situation that led to the colonists winning the American Revolution.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  It’s also the place were in 1910 Eugene Ely flew an airplane off a cruiser and inaugurated the age of Naval aviation. Today the shores of the Chesapeake are home to the Oceana Naval Air Station... the United States Navy’s Master Jet Base.

In 1940 the federal government purchased a little swampland... and set up an auxiliary airfield. During the Second World War the base tripled in size. A list of the aircraft stationed at Oceana reads like a history of Naval Aviation. Their family album includes just about everything the Navy ever put on board a carrier.

Today Oceana is home base for the world’s most advanced naval aircraft and some of our nation’s most sophisticated pilots.

LT. STEVE KOEHLER:   Well, this is an anti-G suit and all the tactical jet guys wear this.  They’re filled with bladders actually... you put this on here, this plugs into the airplane and as you pull G, as you increase your, your turn and get more force of gravity, this will fill up with air and then the whole point of it is to keep the blood in your head, so rather than have it as you’re sitting down pool in your feet, you pull this, this expands and it keeps more blood in your head, keeps you awake. 

This now is the actual harness that hooks you into the ejection seat, so if in fact you do have to eject and the parachute opens this will be like a parachutist’s harness. 

And here these coat fittings is what they’re called, they hook into the top of the seat.  And those then become your risers, so this would be hooked into the parachute as you were coming down if you had to eject. 

This thing being the next piece of gear which basically has all the survival equipment in it.  This has the flotation device.  When it hits seawater, it’ll open up.  So if you’re unconscious as you hit the water, pull this bladder here and these bladders right here will inflate, and, uh, it’s supposed to keep you so that you don’t end up face down.

This thing obviously is the oxygen mask, you use as you fly, it’s also the way we communicate, the microphone’s in there as well.

LT. PAT PERRY:  So all of a sudden you’ve got about 30 pounds, maybe 20 pounds of gear which for a hot day makes it interesting.

LT. STEVE KOEHLER:  Kinda hot.

BURT WOLF:  Are the cockpits air-conditioned?

LT. PAT PERRY:  They are once you get the motors on-line, but there’s a ten minute, fifteen minute period where during the start period you’re pretty much underneath that glass and it gets pretty hot until you get everything on-line. 

LT. STEVE KOEHLER:  And that’s followed by a helmet with a visor and you’re set.

During my early twenties I served with the United States Army, but I never actually saw any combat. The only life threatening situation was the daily morning service at breakfast of chipped beef on toast. But I never forget that my right to practice whatever religion I choose, to educate myself the way I wanted to be educated, and to work every today in what is truly a free press comes directly from the men and women of the military who defend my constitutional rights -- constitutional rights, by the way, that to a great extent were written originally by people from Virginia.  So I particularly enjoyed my visit here.  And I hope you enjoyed being here with me, and that you will join us again next time as we travel around the world looking at the ORIGINS of the things that surround us. I’m Burt Wolf.

Origins: Cruising Alaska - #103

Every place in the world has a series of things that give that spot a special character... and make it different from every other place.  When you look at the ORIGINS of these things, you often end up with a better appreciation of the territory -- and that makes it a lot more interesting to visit.  And sometimes, these origins help us understand why we live the way we do.

It starts up at the top of the Alaskan panhandle and runs south along the coast of Alaska and the Canadian province of British Columbia. It covers a thousand miles and ends just below the U.S. border at Seattle, Washington.  It’s called the Inside Passage.

And that is precisely what it is:  a sea passage that runs along the northwest coast. But it runs between the coast and a series of islands that protect the route from the open sea. At its southernmost point the course is shielded for three hundred miles by Vancouver Island.  Then the Queen Charlotte Islands take over the defense. And finally the route is safeguarded by the more than one thousand islands that make up the Alexander Archipelago. It is a magnificent stretch of wilderness.

Much of the region is virtually inaccessible by road so the best way, and in some cases the only way, to really see the passage is by boat.

I started my journey from the Canadian city of Vancouver.

My chosen method of transportation for my passage through the Passage was a ship called the Legend Of The Seas. It was built in 1995 for the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.  It’s eight hundred and sixty-seven feet long... a hundred and five feet wide... there are eleven decks... nine hundred and two cabins... and it can maintain a speed of twenty-four knots.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   On land we measure speed in miles per hour or kilometers per hour. At sea it is measured in something called a knot. Historians believe that sailors started using the knot during the 1400’s. The technology was pretty primitive. They had a piece of wood, they had a rope tied to that piece of wood, every fifty feet there was a knot tied in the rope.  They also had an hourglass that measured 28 seconds with sand. They would throw the piece of wood over the side of the boat.  When it hit the water, they would start the hourglass.  When the 28 seconds of sand ran out, they counted the number of knots that had gone over the side, and that was the ship’s speed.

Eventually the knot became standardized as the nautical mile, which is 6,080 feet... about fifteen percent longer than a land mile. So when a ship is doing twenty knots, it’s the equivalent of about twenty-three miles per hour. When sailors talk about a ship’s speed they just say “twenty knots,” never “twenty knots per hour.” Both the distance and the time measurement are included in the idea of a knot.

And while The Legend Of The Seas is maintaining its speed of twenty-four knots, the passengers can maintain themselves in a number of ways. There’s a spa, a sauna, one outdoor pool, and one pool that is both outdoor and indoor. The outdoor/indoor pool was designed for people who can’t make up their mind what they want. There’s a library where you can maintain your intellect... and an 18-hole miniature golf course for maintaining your putting skill.  A miniature golf course  is quite appropriate for a ship. The first miniature golf course was actually designed for use on a trans-Atlantic ocean liner.

BURT WOLF:  The water hazards on this course are just murder.

And finally, there is a Stargazing Area...  “Look -- there’s Elvis!”

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  When the Elvis years passed away, along with the original Elvis, he became a symbol.  A symbol of an easier time.  Less frightening, more understandable.  And when anyone or anything becomes a symbol it can be used to evoke a response in other people.  Psychologists have been studying this from a scientific point of view, but business people have been using the information for over a hundred years.   Let’s take a look at the case in point: the ocean liner or the cruise ship.

When luxury ocean liners first came on the scene at the beginning of the 20th century they wanted to market their first class services to upper-class families. One of the simplest ways to work toward that goal was to reproduce things on the ship that reminded the passengers of the good life on shore.

How about a grand ballroom with a majestic staircase -- a staircase that could be used by the female passengers to make a grand entrance in a magnificent new dress, a dress tastefully dusted in recently-acquired diamonds. And while you were at it, you could make the grand ballroom a replica of one of the famous hotel ballrooms in Paris or London. Then you could put in an orchestra that everyone was familiar with... one that was associated with good times.  And lots of food -- luxurious food that speaks of opulence and happiness.  Create a feeling that is somewhat like the important public events of a social season... or like an ongoing wedding party. You could also have a few rooms that reminded the male passengers of the private clubs that were popular at the time. And all of that is precisely what many of the original ocean liners did. And it worked. The passengers began to feel secure, even though they were hundreds of miles at sea.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  And it still works. Not quite as formal as it used to be. A seven day cruise on the Legend Of The Seas has three formal nights out of seven and black-tie is optional. In the old days it was black-tie every night. The dining rooms are no longer reproductions of the Dorchester or the Ritz, but they’re still pretty wonderful. And music that harkens back to an earlier time? It’s here. The cruise has a 50’s/60’s night which tries to reproduce the feeling of those two great decades. And Elvis is in the air again.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  But I am not here to step on anybody’s blue suede shoes. I want to step on land, land that few people have stepped on before. I want to commune with nature. I want to be close to the wild. But not too close.

Glacier Bay National Park is close enough.  The ship slowly eases into the narrow passages that run between the mountains of ice that make up this 3.3 million acre national park.  Sixteen huge glaciers flow out of the Fairweather mountain range.  Their forward edges melt and break off into the icy waters of the fjords that cut their way in from the open sea.

When large hunks of ice rip away from the glacier, it is called “calving,” and the sound that they make as they pull away is called “white thunder.”

The crackling sound actually comes from the bursting of thousands of air bubbles that were trapped in the ice.

Archeologists believe that native tribes have been living in the Glacier Bay area for at least 10,000 years.  The first Europeans to explore the territory were the Russians, who sailed through during the 1740s.  About fifty years later the French stopped in to check things out.  By the 1880s, tour boats were coming in to take a look.  Glacier Bay is truly one of the fascinating places in Alaska.

This morning’s port of call is the town of Skagway. The name Skagway comes from a native American word meaning “the windy place.”  It’s located at the northernmost point on the Inside Passage. The area was never a permanent settlement for any of the tribes, but it had been used for hundreds of years as a seasonal ground for hunting and fishing.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The first European to take a serious interest in Skagway was a retired steamboat captain by the name of William Moore.  In 1887, he staked a claim for 160 acres of land and with the help of his son he built a small cabin. He knew the area so well that the Canadian government asked him to help their surveyors find a pass through the mountains.  He did, and it eventually became known as “The White Pass.”  Moore had been watching all of the mining activity going around in the territory and he firmly believed that it was just a question of time before there was a major gold strike. He also believed that when that strike came, Skagway would become the seaport for the gold rush.

And boy, was he right! When word of the Bonanza Creek gold strike got out, over 100,000 people set out to seek their fortune in the Yukon, and the route they took to get there started with a ship to Skagway.  In the end, only about 30,000 people got here but they turned the place into the classic gold rush boomtown.  In 1898 Skagway had almost one hundred saloons filled with gamblers, thieves and umm, ladies of perpetual availability.

These days Skagway has about 800 permanent residents, and a great nostalgia about its past.  Much of the original commercial district has managed to survive and the United States Park Service conducts guided walking tours through the historic areas of the town.  My guide today is Rick Fields.

RICK FIELDS:  Burt, this is The Red Onion Saloon, that actually was a saloon and bordello during the time of the Gold Rush.  Downstairs’s the saloon, upstairs the ladies of the evening. Uh, actually, during the time of the Gold Rush, if a gentleman wanted any kind of woman’s accompaniment, he could walk into that saloon and behind the bar was a display case with dolls dressed in like of the ladies that were working the floor that evening.  And so if a gentleman had any particular lady in mind, he could actually look behind the bar and if the doll was standing that she was very much available for your accompaniment.  If she was laying down, well... she was busy.

RICK FIELDS:  The AB Hall here, Burt, was also an original structure. It was a fraternal organization that was developed by the stampeders as a kind of social club, if you will.  There’s over 10,000 pieces of driftwood actually nailed onto the face of that building.  The last known member to ever join the Arctic Brotherhood here in Skagway was Warren G. Harding, our president.  In 1923 he came to visit us for three short hours. We then initiated him into our Arctic Brotherhood Lodge. 

BURT WOLF:  What goes on in the Arctic Brotherhood?

RICK FIELDS:  Today it’s actually our city museum.  Actually we have a fine arts museum of some of the old paraphernalia you might have found during the time of the Gold Rush all inside our museum and it’s set up as a display so that you can go in and spend a few minutes and enjoy.

BURT WOLF:  You know like little kids they like to take matchsticks and build things out of them and that’s what happens when those kids grow up.

RICK FIELDS:  That’s right.


RICK FIELDS:  They just make bigger piles, don’t they?

RICK FIELDS:  Well this is actually the Mascot Saloon, and the Mascot has  actually been set up as a display only by our National Parks Service, so the kind of saloon you’d actually see during the turn of the century here in Skagway; it’s got the old hardwood floors and the lighting as it was back in 1898.  Actually, the bar I could never seem to ever be served at here.  I keep trying, but it’s just not ever happened, but some of the old cigars that you might, would have found as you would have come here.  We’ve actually restored all of these buildings along this block back all to their original condition: wallpaper, paint, colors, everything is back to its original condition.  It’s really a pleasure to be in a community that had such community pride of their buildings.  I really do enjoy living here.

RICK FIELDS:  Well, Burt, this is Kirmse’s Curios.  Actually Herman Kirmse was one of the very first pioneers that came into Skagway when the words of the Klondike Gold Rush happened throughout the country.  And Herman, actually, instead of traveling over the pass and heading for the gold 600 miles away from here, he actually stopped here and established his jewelry business.  He was quite an entrepreneur, like many that had to travel the trail up here.

BURT WOLF:  I get the feeling that the real gold was in the retail business and not in the creeks.

RICK FIELDS:  I’m gonna have to agree with you, Burt.  It seems as though the guy that made a living and a good one up here was the packer, the storekeeper, the guy who sold you services.

When the prospectors headed out of Skagway they had to choose between two routes to the gold. One was the Chilkoot Trail.  That’s what it looked like during 1897 and ‘98 when some 30,000 prospectors made the six-hour climb up what came to be known as the “Golden Stairs.” And because each of them was transporting a minimum of 1,000 pounds of supplies, they made that trip at least twenty times. 

The other Skagway trail used by the gold seekers to get to a claim was the White Pass.  It was less steep than the Chilkoot but no less dangerous.

In 1900, things got a lot easier. That was the year that the White Pass and Yukon Railroad opened and connected Skagway to the town of Frazer in the Canadian Yukon.  The rails run through some of the most rugged terrain in North America.


The roadbeds were carved along sheer rock cliffs. Tunnels were hammered through solid granite. When it was completed, it was considered to be one of the engineering marvels of its time. Today it’s a marvelous guided tour for visitors to Skagway -- and the guide is Sharon Hannon.

SHARON HANNON:  Okay, we’re coming up now to the Denver Glacier Bridge.  This is mile-post 5.8 on your railmaps.  We’re going to be crossing over the east fork of the Skagway River.  As we make a real sharp left curve over the bridge, you’ll have a nice opportunity to view the train -- all fifteen parlor cars that we’re pulling.  It’s just amazing to think that this railroad that we’re traveling on this morning is nearly one hundred years old.  And how they built it back then is absolutely incredible.  What they did was, these workers were roped together while hanging on the slopes.  And the smooth granite obviously offered no footholds whatsoever.  So in hazardous winter weather, these men chipped all of this granite with hand tools in order to plant the 450 tons of blasting powder.  This was obviously extremely hard, very dangerous work, for thirty cents an hour.  And they say that this was a railroad that was impossible to build.  There is very little advanced planning involved.  Now there was no rolling stock, there was no construction materials or heavy-duty equipment.  There was no means of feeding or housing the work crews, and remember a total of 35,000 men worked on the line.  Also, the site was more than a thousand miles from the closest supply base which was in Seattle, Washington.  So the railroad had to compete for ship cargo space with the thousands of stampeders that were also headed up north.  And I mentioned earlier the workforce, highly educated professional men, but by no means skilled railroad laborers.  So this railroad was built against all odds and it was completed in only two years, two months, and one day -- all built by hand.  And it cost ten million dollars to build it, and then another two million dollars to outfit it for service.  And it’s an international railroad.  It was financed by the British, contracted by the Canadians, and engineered by the Americans.

The White Pass and Yukon Railroad certainly made the trip from Alaska to the Yukon easier.  What you’re looking at is the last remaining section of the original pass that the prospectors used.  Can you imagine hiking thirty-five miles, carrying hundreds of pounds of gear on your back, on a path that narrow?  And by the time the railroad was finished... the gold rush was over.

About an hour boat ride south of Skagway is the town of Haines.  It started out as settlement for the Native Alaskan Tlingit tribe, and they still play a very active role in the community.  A non-profit association called Alaska Indian Arts has dedicated itself to the revival and perpetuation of native craft and culture and in Haines they present the Chilkat Dancers,  a group whose authentic performances have given them a worldwide reputation.

While we were here, one of the dances told the story of a monster who had been eating the children of the tribe.  The chief decided to trap the monster by digging a deep hole, covering it with twigs, and sending a young girl to attract the monster over the hole.  As the monster chased the girl, she passed over the twigs; she was light.  When the monster ran over the twigs, his weight sent him to the bottom.

The tribe quickly gathered around, threw branches on top of the monster and set them on fire.  As the flames came up, the monster yelled that no matter what the tribe did, he would always drink their blood.  After thirty days, the tribe let the fire go out.  As they poked the ashes, they saw that the monster had been consumed, but out of the holes in the ashes a new creature appeared -- thousands of them.  They were mosquitoes.

The next day our crew was filming in an area filled with mosquitoes, mosquitoes who were feasting on us.  But somehow we all felt less aggravated by their presence, because we knew it was only the monster trying for his revenge.  The tribal dances connect the people with their heritage and to the environment in which they live -- and that makes life more understandable and easier.

The Haines area has always been important to the native tribes. It was the end point for the ancient trail into the interior, and it was also the site of the gathering of the eagles. Today the region covers 48,000 acres and is known as the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. Each year some 4,000 bald eagles take up residence along a five-mile stretch of the Chilkat River. They’re attracted to the spot by an annual late run of spawning salmon. In addition, warm water upwellings in the river bottom keep parts of the river ice-free during the winter, providing even more fish for the eagles, at a time when many other food sources are exhausted. This is nature throwing an all-you-can-eat buffet for the eagle, and it’s been going on for thousands of years.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   But it almost came to an end in 1917 when someone in the government decided that the eagles were eating too many salmon and began to offer a bounty on them.  Over a hundred and twenty thousand eagles were shot for a dollar or two dollars each before someone realized that in fact the eagles were not doing any damage at all.  Just another episode in the endless saga of government stupidity.

Fortunately the eagle is now protected.  It is a federal crime to harm or possess a bald eagle and with any luck, the law is being enforced.

And if you’ve ever wanted to see Alaska from an eagle’s eye view, take a look at this.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  One of the nice things about seeing southern Alaska from a cruise ship is than on certain days you can go ashore and pursue your own  individual interests.  Then in the evenings you come back to the ship and you get the feeling that you’re joining old friends.  And speaking of joining old friends, I hope you will join us next time as we travel around the world, looking at the ORIGINS of some of the things that surround us.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Burt Wolf's Menu: Boyes Springs and Carmel - #120

Northern California has some of the most beautiful resorts in the United States.  Just south of San Francisco, in Carmel, is the Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club.  Just north of San Francisco, at Boyes Springs, is the Sonoma Mission Inn. We’ll see how they use the extraordinary produce of the area to create some great dishes. So join me in Boyes Springs and Carmel for BURT WOLF’S MENU.

Beneath the surface of California’s Sonoma Valley are a series of hot springs that have been boiling to the surface for thousands of years. The Native American tribes who lived here were well aware of the springs and considered them to be sacred ground. They came to them to practice their religious rites, to heal themselves, and because no conflicts were allowed in these special locations, they could rest in a safe place. Because the water was over one hundred degrees as it hit the surface, it was also used for cooking.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The first European colonists into the area were shown to the hot springs by the local natives.  They immediately realized the value of the springs and joined in for the cure. During the 1880s, going to a hot springs for a little rest and relaxation became the thing to do.  The visits worked for the guests for a number of reasons.  First of all, most hot springs are in rural areas.  Very quiet, very relaxed, very laid-back.  Just to get away from the city, the stress and hustle-and-bustle of their environment, the one they normally worked in, was really good for the guests.  Many of the hot springs had a mineral water program.  A doctors would be in attendance and he would listen to the problems of the guests, both mental and physical, and prescribe the proper amount of mineral water. Whether the mineral water had any real medicinal value is definitely up to question... but it made everybody feel better.  And we know how important a good mental set is to good health.  The most famous of the classical spas is The Sonoma Mission Inn, just north of San Francisco.

The Sonoma Mission Inn originated at the turn of the century as the Boyes Hot Springs Hotel.  The who's who of San Francisco, always interested in what's where, came up to "take the waters" at what had become the finest hot mineral water resort in California. It boasted the largest mineral water swimming tank in the world. Their advertisements recommended the waters as a cure for rheumatism, stomach trouble, and nerve problems.  Which was a pretty nervy claim.  The original hotel was destroyed by fire in 1923. But in 1927 the current Sonoma Mission Inn was built on the same spot.  The building is an architecturally accurate replica of a California mission, and it became even more popular than the earlier hotel.  Ferries and trains connected San Francisco to the area and people considered it an easy trip.

Today the Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is a Four-Star, Four Diamond luxury resort. When guests arrive at the Inn, the staff gently recommends that they stop for a "Stress Reducer" massage in order to get into the proper Sonoma state of mind. Remember, Northern California is the land of the laid-back.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  I like that attitude. Some spas remind me of my first week in the Army at Fort Dix.  Now, I didn't enjoy basic training that much when the government paid me to go through it. But to have the same experience again and then get a bill at the end?  NO!!!  The Sonoma Mission Inn is much more my approach.

Without anyone pushing you in any direction, you can choose from a selection of aerobic classes... indoor and outdoor exercise pools... the outdoor pool is kept at a nice warm 85 degrees.  There are tennis courts... and all kinds of spa treatments including hydrotherapy... and a famous herbal body wrap.  Sometimes they do the wrap with seaweed, which gives you a great insight into what it must feel like to be a sushi.  Lots of exercise equipment and good instructors.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  I've been pretty good about my cardio-vascular program; I walk four times a week for forty-five minutes each time, and I cover 3 miles.  Then a while ago I started a free weight program, and that’s been pretty good to build up the upper portion of my body, but I’m really weak in my abdominal muscles.  Arnold Schwarzenegger says "It all starts in ze abs, you know," so I figured I’d better have a program for that and I asked Yvonne, who’s a top trainer here, “what should I be doing?”

YVONNE ESQUER:  Well, you should be doing a number of things, mostly focusing on that area, since you’re taking care of your cardio-vascular.  So, one exercise that you can do to flatten the area is an abdominal curl, commonly known as “crunches.”  So what you do is, you place your hands behind your head, and you form a cradle behind your head and just let your head rest back in your hands.  Now, as you breathe in, you just relax; as you exhale is when you drop the whole abdominal area down toward your spine... raise your shoulders and head off the mat, inhale as you lower.  And continuously, exhale as you lift, inhale as you lower.  Exhale as you lift, and as you lower.  Another exercise that you can do that concentrates a little lower in the abdominal area, just getting at more lower fibers -- as you bring your thighs up toward your chest, you can cradle your head again, breath in, as you exhale, think of curling your tailbone off of the mat.  You exhale and curl the tailbone up and off; at the same time you think of drawing your navel down toward your spine as you do this curl.  And as you get stronger and more advanced, you can take the legs up and curl up even higher.  So there are a lot of variations you can do.

BURT WOLF:  But those three should do the trick for me. 

YVONNE ESQUER:  Those three are very, very straight-forward basic exercises; you don’t need any equipment to do this, you can do them in the comfort of your own home.  I’m glad you’re watching your fat intake too, ‘cause that plays a really good part.

BURT WOLF:   Yeah, I’m watching my fat intake meal after meal after meal.  You know, one of the nice things about this place is they’re not only famous for tightening your tummy, but they’re equally famous for filling it.

The Grille at Sonoma Mission Inn is considered one of the finest restaurants in the area.  The room has two menus... standard and spa.  The spa menu has recipes that are lower in calories... lower in sodium and lower in saturated fats.  But they are not lower in taste. The chef is Mark Vann and he specializes in working with foods that are locally produced.  Which is great when you’re cooking in Sonoma Valley.

One of the most important rice-growing areas in the U.S. is just to the east of here, and Mark is using that rice to prepare a lemon rice soup.  A little oil is heated in a sauce pan.  A chopped onion is added and cooked for about five minutes.

MARK VANN:  Actually, I prefer shallots.  They’re a little bit more dependable from the standpoint of flavor.  Onions kind of -- they’re like tomatoes, you know, they kind of go up and down in flavor.  Sometimes they can be very, very mild, and sometimes you cut into them and they can make everyone in the kitchen cry.  Shallots and leeks... for us, they’re a little bit more subtle in flavor and they just work.  Sonoma is noted for its onions, though, so we do use a lot of onions in cookery here.  A lot of times what we’ll do when we’re cooking vegetables is we’ll cook them very, very slowly, add a lot less oil to the pan.  The natural juices of the, through slow cooking, of the vegetables will come out into the pan, and you use a lot less oil to cook them.  It’s sort of called “sweating” the vegetables, more or less, rather than adding a lot more oil.

BURT WOLF:   Good idea -- lower heat with vegetables --

MARK VANN:  (over)  Exactly.

BURT WOLF:   -- brings out moisture, use less fat.


BURT WOLF:   Easy.

A cup of short grain rice goes in. 

MARK VANN:  We’re using the rice -- normally what would happen here, is we’re gonna -- this is sort of based on a Greek soup called avga lemona.  And what the Greeks do is bind the soup with egg yolks, a lemon egg soup.  But what we’re gonna do here is we’re gonna utilize rice as the thickening agent and not add any eggs to it.  So we’re gonna lower the amount of fat and cholesterol in the dish effectively.

BURT WOLF:   Fabulous technique.

MARK VANN:  Okay.  All right.  Next we want to add a little bit of turmeric.  That’ll give it the yellow coloring that the eggs would traditionally give to the dish.  If you want to use saffron and spend a little bit more money, you can use saffron.  ...  Lemon juice... and the lemon zest.

All that gets cooked and stirred for a few minutes.  A cup of white wine is poured in.  Followed by three quarts of chicken stock. 

BURT WOLF:  That’s the ladle that ate New Jersey!

MARK VANN:  It’s a... it’s -- that’s a ladle!  That’s an Italian mother’s ladle right there.  Just a little bowl of soup...

The ingredients simmer for about 20 minutes at which point everything is fully cooked.  Then the soup is pureed in a blender, a little bit at a time. 

MARK VANN:  Now the rice is completely cooked.  You want to -- you know, normally we have... the rice has a little bit of bite to it, or a little bit more texture.  We want to cook it actually until it’s a little bit mushy.  It’ll release all of its starch for you then.

Using a blender for a hot liquid must be done very carefully and only a little of the liquid should be blended as a batch.  The pureed soup goes into a bowl.  A little garnish and it’s ready to serve.

Mark’s preparing a whole menu with a loin of lamb as the center, but he starts with a vegetable gratin.  A few cloves of garlic are chopped.  A few shallots are chopped.  Some basil is sliced into small strips.  A little oil goes into a rectangular baking pan.  Then the shallots go in.  And the garlic goes in.  Yellow squash is cut into thin slices.  Same with a few zucchini and some tomatoes. Then the sliced vegetables get stacked into the pan.  Squash.  Zucchini.  Tomatoes.  Squash.  Zucchini.  Tomatoes.  Squash.  Zucchini.  Tomatoes.  (Is there an echo in here?)

MARK VANN:  We’re gonna use just a little bit of salt and a little bit of pepper.  The roasting is gonna yield a lot more of the vegetable juices out and concentrate the flavors, so there’s not so much need for seasoning.  So we’re gonna add a little bit of local Sonoma dry jack cheese; it’s produced right here in Sonoma.  We use it instead of reggiano parmesan because it’s a little bit lower in sodium and it has a little bit creamier texture and flavor.  Also -- normally you’d have a lot of cheese; if you think about a gratin dauphinoir or something like that, it’s gonna really be... a lot of cream, a lot of cheese.  Here we’re just gonna sprinkle a little bit of cheese over the top and then we’ll just cover it with some breadcrumbs, and that will help hold it together.  The juices will come up, bind with the breadcrumbs and the cheese, and that’ll hold it together.  It’ll also keep the fat down, but it’ll also give you a little bit of the cheese that you want in your gratin.

Into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes and that dish will be ready to serve.  The lamb comes along with an eggplant puree.  Eggplants are sliced in half, placed cut side down on a baking sheet, and baked for twenty minutes in a four hundred degree Fahrenheit oven.  Then the meat is scooped out of the eggplant and into a bowl. Ten cloves of garlic that have been roasted in a four hundred degree oven for forty-five minutes are pureed and added to the eggplant. A tablespoon of chopped basil is added.  A boiled potato cut into pieces is mixed in, plus a little salt and pepper.  When everything is thoroughly blended, that dish is ready.  Finally, the lamb.

MARK VANN:  You know, we’ve marinated it in some herbs and a little bit of garlic to add flavor, and then we’re just gonna use a little bit of salt.  The reason that we use a lot of lamb here, “a,” Sonoma’s known for its lamb, but also because a loin of lamb is very, very lean, very low in fat. ... You know, we don’t use meat thermometers when we’re cooking a lot of things, a lot of professionals don’t, and what we do is, we generally -- you see this a lot, you know, people touching the meat.  And by the texture and the resistance that you feel when you touch it tells you about how far along it’s done.

BURT WOLF:   The more resistance, the harder it is, the more it’s cooked.

MARK VANN:  Exactly.  The more resistance when you touch it, the more done the meat is.  And that’s it!  We’ll take a little bit of the eggplant puree...

Then the vegetable gratin goes on... and the lamb.

Well, I hate to eat and run, but it is time to leave Sonoma and head down the coast of California to the lovely town of Carmel-By-The-Sea.

In 1602 three Carmelite missionaries stood on these hills, about a hundred and twenty miles south of what was to become San Francisco.  They looked out on the magnificent coast in front of them.  The rolling surf... the white sand of the beaches... the deep green tree-covered landscape. A river near them ran to the sea and they named it Rio Carmelo after their Carmelite Order.  Then... they moved on.  Not much else happened in the neighborhood for the next three hundred years or so... and when it did happen it didn't actually happen here.  It happened up the coast in 1906, in San Francisco.

NEWSREEL REPORTER:  One of the world’s greatest disasters -- a city torn and burned by nature’s most ugly attack, over which man has no control.  But, phoenix-like from the seeming hopeless mass of twisted steel and piles of stone, from these broken streets and tottering ruins, there rose a greater city, to become a monument to the courage and faith of the undaunted Americans of the west.”

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  A few years before the quake a man by the name of Frank Dievendorf filed a map for the development of the town of Carmel.  The earthquake proved to be the perfect excuse for him to bring that plan to the attention of the people of San Francisco, many of whom suddenly found themselves living in tents.  A number of the earliest residents to Carmel were artists and writers who had moved there from San Francisco.  After the quake they contacted their fellow artists and writers in San Francisco and suggested that they move to this quiet, beautiful and safe seaside community.  Since then, musicians, writers, and painters have moved to the area.  In recent years, however, most of the creative talent to move to Carmel has come from the movie industry.  Clint Eastwood lives here and so does Doris Day.

Just in front of Doris's home is the Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club. The land that makes up the lodge’s property was once a dairy farm owned by the brother-in-law of the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  During the 1930s, a local insurance salesman took the day off from work and accompanied his son on a class trip to the dairy farm.  He wanted to see how ice cream and milk were made.  The salesman's name was Ed Haber and he fell in love with the property.  As he was leaving the farm he told the owner, Dwight Morrow, that if Morrow ever wanted to sell the place he’d be interested in buying.  Well, Haber was certainly interested in buying, but paying for the property at the time would have been a different story.  Morrow and Haber didn’t run into each other for ten years... and then one day Morrow walked into Haber’s office.

Morrow wanted to know if Haber’s offer to buy the property still stood.  It did, and Haber was able to find four partners who helped him put up the money.  He turned the farm into the Quail Lodge, an 850 acre property and home to the Carmel Valley Golf Club.

ED HABER:  I got a phone call from a fellow in San Francisco I knew, and he said “Do you have three rooms available for the Bing Crosby Tournament,” which is held here at Pebble Beach and the Monterey Peninsula and around, and it was a very famous tournament.  And I said, “Yes, we have three rooms,” and he said “Well, Arnold Palmer (who was the absolute king of the business) wants to stay there on my recommendation.”  And I started to hesitate, because we had twenty-five rooms, and three rooms is more than ten percent of our rooms, and usually the celebrities... they don’t pay!  And I was thinking, there goes three rooms... dollars gone for a week!  And I was hesitating and he said, “Would you like a deposit?”  And, not knowing any better, I said, “That would be nice.”  And so Arnold Palmer came, and he really liked it, and he came for seven or eight -- he still comes once in a while -- he came for quite a while.  And then one day he was late getting to the first tee in this tournament at nearby Pebble Beach, so somebody said “Why don’t you get a helicopter?”  So anyway, we got a helicopter, we borrowed one, low-budget, didn’t cost us anything, and flew him back and forth.  And then it made all the newspapers and TV stations all over the country, including in Europe.  And to this day, we’re the famous place that Arnold Palmer stayed -- not only stayed here, but had a helicopter.  And of course, when I hesitated about giving him free rooms -- which I didn’t -- I didn’t realize it was worth an awful lot to have him here!  [laughter]

Today the Carmel Valley Club is the home course for Clint Eastwood, who lives just down the road.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  While I was looking through the club files I came across a photograph of Clint playing golf, and it was somewhat unnerving.  To the best of my memory, every single Clint Eastwood movie I have seen had him involved in some kind of physical combat.  And then to see him totally relaxed, holding a golf club instead of a .44 Magnum... well, quite frankly, it just unmade my day.  But Clint would never come here in his movie persona, because Quail Lodge is a wildlife sanctuary and no hunting is allowed.  “Feel lucky?  Was that five putts... or six?”

There are eleven lakes on the property and they are a regular stopping point for the migratory fowl moving along the west coast flyways. Over eighty different species of birds come in for a rest.  Which is very much in keeping with the overall attraction of the Lodge. For years humans have been coming here for a rest.  It's the outstanding resort in the area south of San Francisco.

BURT WOLF:   But you’re not only famous for golf these days; you just got five stars.

ED HABER:  Well, we have the Mobil Five-Star Award, which is a very prestigious award, and when we first got it, I didn’t know about that either, any more than I knew about Arnold Palmer.  And it turns out that we -- there are 60,000 hotels in the United States, and Mobil Travel Guide rates about 20,000 that they think are worthy of stars, from one to five, and we got five.  And at the time I didn’t know what it meant; I sure do now!  And we are one of twenty-three in the whole United States.  There’s not even one per state.  But I didn’t know that either, so it’s just as well I didn’t know these things.

BURT WOLF:   There were some problems to... displaying it when you got it.

ED HABER:  Well... [laughing]  yes, because the plaque, which is a beautiful bronze plaque, was on a blue background, like your jeans, and my wife, who does the decor for the Quail Lodge, wouldn’t allow it in the lobby until we changed the background to tan!

The Quail Lodge is also the home of The Covey Restaurant, which is considered to be one of the best restaurants in the San Francisco area. It has a great location overlooking a quiet pond. The executive chef, Bob Williamson, is a native of England who has cooked in top restaurants throughout Europe, Canada and the United States.  Bob’s going to begin with a recipe for ratatouille, which is stuffed into an artichoke.  But first, he’s going to explain how he selected that artichoke.

BOB WILLIAMSON:  You look for one that has, what you might say, a fresh look about it, not too open, fairly tight; then you want to take, if you can, just take it and snap the leaf.  And that lovely crisp sound tells you, this is, this is a good artichoke.  It’s, it’s -- it hasn’t dried out, been stored a long time, it’s very fresh, been well-taken-care-of, and it’s in prime condition.  Okay, next we’re gonna cook this.  We’re gonna take the classic approach, which is to trim the points off the leaves -- a pair of kitchen shears is the ideal instrument for this job -- and then just cut the top off.  Now -- isn’t that beautiful?  Now, we have a pot of water going here.  When you cook artichokes, you need to salt the water well, because they will then cook at a higher temperature.  You put a little lemon in, a little garlic for flavor, and then, when your water is nicely boiling again, you put in your artichoke.  You need to push them down in the water so they’ll get down there where they’ll cook, and then we’re gonna put a lid on here, just so we can get a -- so we can bring our temperature back up, and they will cook now nicely, and they’ll be ready in about thirty minutes.

While the artichokes are cooking, some ratatouille is made. Ratatouille is a short vegetable stew with a long French name.  The recipe starts by heating a little oil in a saute pan and then cooking together a chopped onion and some chopped garlic.  Then a chopped red bell pepper, and a chopped green bell pepper are added.

BOB WILLIAMSON:  It’s important when you make ratatouille to cook things... you can either do it separately --

BURT WOLF:   Right --

BOB WILLIAMSON:  -- or you can just time them as they go into the pan.  Now, you want your onions and garlic to be well done.  You don’t really -- you want them to kind of disappear in it.  But the peppers and the squash, you want them to be not so well-cooked.

BURT WOLF:   I’m from the “All-In-One-Pan-But-Evenly-Timed” school; how about you?

BOB WILLIAMSON:  Yeah. Normally. If I’m making a lot --

BURT WOLF:   Right.

BOB WILLIAMSON:  -- I will cook things separately.  Okay, let’s discuss herbs in ratatouille.

BURT WOLF:   You got it!

BOB WILLIAMSON:  Now, at this point, you’ve got onions and peppers, a little oil.  And the flavoring can go whichever way you desire.  You could put rosemary, you could put oregano, you could put a little lemon thyme, for example.  But today, we’re using basil.  Also at this point, you’ve got many choices about what you can put in.  Because ratatouille, it’s -- kind of varies from village to village and cook to cook.  But I saw these lovely little organic squash that were grown just down the valley here, and I thought, well, that’ll be a nice choice for our ratatouille today.

Then Bob adds a few tablespoons of tomato paste and a chopped tomato.  A touch of white wine is added for moisture, then a half cup of black olives.  Finally, the juice of half a lemon.  When the artichokes are cooked, they come out of the water and tongs are used to remove the core.

BOB WILLIAMSON:  See, now I’ve pulled out those inside leaves there, okay?  But if you look down inside, you see that’s where the choke is; this also has to come out.  These little leaves in the middle, they’re insignificant.  But this thing down in here is very unpleasant to eat.  And these are... this is actually the seeds of the flower, if you will.

Once the bitter tasting core is removed, the hole is filled with ratatouille. Excellent first course or a vegetable dish.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA): Quail Lodge is an interesting blend of elements. It's very relaxed and laid-back... but it's also very sophisticated.  Ed Haber hit the nail on the head when he was talking about what he liked in the morning at a resort:  "A good cup of coffee, the newspaper, a nice bar of soap... and soft towels."  Simple stuff -- but at the right quality, it’ll make your day.

Well, that’s our report from two of the nicest resorts in Northern California.  Please join us next time as we travel around the world looking for good things to eat and the reasons why people eat them.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Burt Wolf's Menu: Santiago, California - #114

Sonoma, California... one of the world's most important places for the production of great wines and the foods to go with them.   We'll take a look at the unique environment that makes all this good food and drink possible... and the people who farm these valleys.  We'll also get some easy and great tasting recipes from some of the area's best chefs.  So join me in Sonoma, California for BURT WOLF’S MENU.

Drive north from San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge... past the houseboats of Sausalito... through the hills and shopping centers of Marin County... and in about an hour you will arrive in the valley called Sonoma. There are two theories about the meaning of the word Sonoma. One says that it is a Native American word that translates as "the land of Chief Nose," a reference to a local chief who had a very big sniffer... the Cyrano De Bergerac of his neighborhood. Eventually, Sonoma became the birthplace of the California wine industry, where a big nose is still important. The other story claims that Sonoma is a native word, from a different tribe, meaning "valley of the moons"... the validity of which can be confirmed on any clear night.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   The first European to establish a residence in the Sonoma Valley was Father Jose Altimira, a Franciscan missionary who established himself here at the Sonoma Mission.  This was the most northerly outpost of the Spanish colonies on the west coast of the New World. Their missions ran from the bottom of South America all the way up here to this spot in northern California.

In 1834 the Mexican government sent General Mariano Vallejo to Sonoma. His orders were to secularize the mission and establish a Mexican settlement.  Vallejo immediately set up a system of land grants for his friends and relatives.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   I can just see General Vallejo poring over his map. "This land by the river... I give it to my sister... no charge. Aah, and the stuff by the mountain... perfect for Uncle Carlos... also no charge. This stuff in the valley would be perfect for my brother-in-law's brother but I don't like him so much, so I charge... but just a little."  Of course, the fact that this land had belonged to the native tribes for the past 35,000 years or so was one of those little subtleties that was lost in the "big picture". Governments love "big pictures,” because it allows them to ignore "little people".

The very first vineyards in Northern California were planted by the Franciscan missionaries so they could make sacramental wine. When General Vallejo secularized the mission he also secularized the vineyards and planted additional vines behind the army barracks.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   General Vallejo was able to combine making war with making wine and in 1841 became the valley’s first commercial vintner. A little lancing, a little labeling... a little bottling, a little battling... a little cannon work, a little cork work... For General Vallejo, life was good. And for today's winemakers in the valley, it still is.

The northern coast of California has a unique weather pattern.  Fog filled with moisture comes off the Pacific Ocean and tries to head inland.  As it does, it’s confronted with a mountain range that forces it into the river basins.  The result is an area with warm days and cool nights, and a series of valleys that are ideal for growing the finest wine grapes.  The locality is called Sonoma County, and it’s one of the world's most important vineyard regions.  It’s also a place where a major commitment has been made by one of the world's most important wineries -- E. and J. Gallo.  It was started in 1933 by Ernest and Julio Gallo, who at the time were 23 and 24 years old, respectively.  This photo is a little earlier.  I actually have an even earlier photo of Ernest; that's him sitting next to his dad.  Julio got onto the bulldozer and got the land ready for planting... Ernest got dressed up and went east with his wife to take orders for the wine.  1933 was a good year to start a winery; it was the year that the federal government's prohibition against the manufacture and sale of beverages containing alcohol came to an end, and once again people could enjoy a glass of wine with their dinner and not create a federal case.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  The brothers had learned the Old World approach to growing grapes from their father, but they had absolutely no idea of how to produce wine. So they went to a local public library and took out a book  on how to make wine. They used that book to produce their first vintage.  The book had a rather scientific approach to winemaking, and that’s still a basic part of the Gallo philosophy.  As a matter of fact, some of their research has led to major breakthroughs in wine production. Today Gallo is the world’s largest producer of wine.  One out of every four bottles sold in the United States is a Gallo bottle.  And I think that makes a perfectly good reason to always have a valid library card.

DAN SOLOMON:  Look where we are; we’re about four hundred feet off the valley floor.        

Dan Solomon has been with the Gallo winery since 1974.

DAN SOLOMON:  Most farmers, the first place any farmer wants to go will be down there on the valley floor.  I don’t care if you’re growing almonds or zucchini or walnuts or kumquats, down there you’ve got an easy source of water, the soils are deep and fat, you can plow a straight furrow very easily right down the valley floor -- why then are all the Gallo vineyards here in Sonoma County up here on the hillsides?  Up here the soils are very rocky.  If this were in my tomato garden, I’d be in deep trouble.  These rocky soils permit water to percolate through.  The grapes don’t like wet feet.  So this permits the water to stay in some of the soil, but doesn’t pool around the grapes.  And that directs the vine into producing grapes of better quality with more intense flavors because they have to suffer a little bit.

BURT WOLF:   A little suffering is okay.

DAN SOLOMON:  Always a little.  (Laughter)

BURT WOLF:   I tell that to my kids all the time -- just a little.

DAN SOLOMON:  Interestingly, for every acre of vineyard that we plant, we keep another acre in forest land watershed preserve.  This is wonderful; this is very helpful to Mother Nature, but it does create problems for us as grape-growers.  Because living in the forest are an awful lot of deer who come down and want to munch on our vines.  So to keep them out, we discovered a method.  We are hanging bars of Dial soap around the periphery of the vineyard; we think it creates an odor barrier and keeps the deer out.  Unfortunately, the latest crop of fauns seem to becoming accustomed to this Dial soap, and we may have to up the ante to Irish Spring.

BURT WOLF:   Ah, Irish Spring.  Manly, but deer hate it too. ... People often wonder which wines go with which foods.  What’s your recommendation?

DAN SOLOMON:  Well, Burt, there are certain general rules that apply, that are traditional.  The basic thing to remember is that wine and food should compliment each other, just like a happy marriage.  Neither partner should overwhelm the other. 

BURT WOLF:   I like the idea of a happy marriage.

DAN SOLOMON:  Good.  In the case of wine and food, white wine goes well with more delicately-flavored foods, like chicken, fish, vegetables perhaps --

BURT WOLF:   Salad...

DAN SOLOMON:  -- salad... red wine tends to be more strongly-flavored, and goes well with strongly-flavored foods like lamb, beef, all kinds of red meats, perhaps foods with a hearty red tomato sauce.  The bottom line is that neither should overwhelm the other and make a happy marriage.

BURT WOLF:   I always worked with a system of “red wines with red foods and white wines with white foods;” I’ll often have salmon with a red wine because I think salmon is pretty strong and intense.

DAN SOLOMON:  Mm-hmm.  And I think that’s fine; your palate is your palate.  No one can dictate to you what your taste should be, and that’s a primary rule for tasting wine:  what you enjoy is the right wine for you.

BURT WOLF:   Your metaphor about marriage is absolutely perfect; if you have a pre-nuptual agreement you can put together whatever you want.

DAN SOLOMON:  (Laughing)  I agree; I’ll drink to that.  Cheers.

Just before dawn on April 18, 1906, the tectonic plate that sits under the Pacific Ocean took a few baby steps to the north. At the same time the tectonic plate that sits under California took a few baby steps to the south. As they rubbed past each other in opposite directions they created an extraordinarily violent tremor on the surface of the earth, which just happened to be the city of San Francisco. For 48 seconds the town rocked and rolled and then the fires started... fires that destroyed almost the entire city.  The average person saw San Francisco as a total wreck. But some of its citizens saw the area as a fantastic opportunity for development. One of the visionaries was a man named Frederick C. Clift and his vision was that of a top-notch luxury hotel that would feel like a home away from home, but most importantly... it would be earthquake-proof. In 1916, his Clift Hotel opened at the corner of Geary and Taylor streets with Frederick himself living in a stone house that he built on the roof. These days the Clift is managed by Four Seasons Regent International Hotels, and remains a standard for luxury and service.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   In order to produce my television reports I live in hotels about seven months of the year... so I'm always on the lookout for something new and improved. And the Clift has made the list. I’m familiar with V.I.P. programs for Very Important People, but the Clift has a V.I.K. program... for Very Important Kids. Actually it applies to all kids that check in, under the theory that all children are important.

They will child-proof a room with protective covers for electrical outlets... unusual guards for bathtub faucets... and nightlights. They have terrycloth robes in children's sizes... children-sized furniture... toys, videos, balloons, a goodie bag, and prior to the child's arrival, a special children's menu is placed in the room.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   It’s really nice to have this program available to you if you check in with a child, but if you’re on your own and feel that your own childhood was a bit more stressful than you wanted it to be, and you would like to relive a portion of it in a more nurtured environment, well -- the hotel will deliver all this stuff to your room... no questions asked.

One of the questions, however, that is often asked is, why is the food in and around San Francisco so good?  One of my favorite good cooks in California is Chef Martin Frost.  I first met Martin when he was working at the Four Seasons in Toronto.  These days he is the executive chef at the San Francisco Clift.  And he's preparing a dish made from local salmon... local red wine... and local baby lima beans. Martin starts by pouring a bottle of red wine into a sauce pan and heating it to a simmer. A fillet of salmon goes into the wine and cooks for 12 minutes. While the salmon is cooking, Martin heats a little butter in a non-stick pan followed by a few sliced mushrooms, cooked corn kernels, and blanched California baby lima beans.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  California has been growing baby lima beans since 1927, and has become a major producer.  Baby lima beans are high in complex carbohydrates, high in dietary fiber, and low in sodium and fat.

Next in, some slices of scallions and salt. A little of the wine used to poach the fish is put into a sauce pan and heated. A little butter is whisked in to make a sauce.

The lima bean sauté goes onto a serving plate. Then the fish comes out of the wine... gets sliced in half and placed onto the limas.  A little of the sauce goes onto the plate.

In addition to the local fish, wine and lima beans... California is a major producer of dried fruits and dried tomatoes... and a leading authority on the subject is Ruth Waltenspiel. Ruth Byrd was raised on a farm in Newhall, California.  When she went to college she went off to the University of California at Santa Barbara to study agriculture. While she was there she met and married Ronald Waltenspiel, a fellow agricultural student. Together they started their own farm in Healdsburg, California. In spite of the first comment you are about to hear they are a happily married couple and thoroughly enjoy their business partnership.

RUTH WALTENSPIEL:  Well, the very first time I wanted a divorce, we had been married three months and it was harvest and it started raining.  And we were out there on our hands and knees picking prunes up off the ground and trying to save what there was of the crop left, and I was sure at that point that I did not want to be a farmer’s wife or have very much to do with agriculture.  But, like with most things, you survive, you reconsider and you go forward.

BURT WOLF:  What made you change?

RUTH WALTENSPIEL:  Well... the one thing about agriculture is, it isn’t boring.  There’s always a new crop, a new season, something new to look at, some new way to use the food, to use the product. 

BURT WOLF:   Then you started to dry foods.

RUTH WALTENSPIEL:  Yes, yes.  You have to remember, this was the Sixties.  This was the hippy-dippy back-to-earth scene, and this was the time when everybody wanted to leave the city and go “back to the earth.”  They had no idea what they were gonna do when they got back to the earth, but they were going back to the earth.

BURT WOLF:   So you dried fruit for a while...


BURT WOLF:   ... and then you got famous for drying something else.  How did that start?

RUTH WALTENSPIEL:  Well, about 1979 I was lucky enough to go to New York City to the Fancy Food Show.  And I took our unsulphured, organically-grown dried fruits and nuts to show to the fancy food industry.  I guess about the best thing that could be said about that, Burt, is that industry was underwhelmed.  They were totally uninterested.  But what we did see while we were there was little-bitty jars of sun-dried tomatoes from Italy, and they were selling in the New York market for twelve to fifteen dollars a jar.  So I came back to California and I said “Ladies and gentlemen, we grow an awfully good tomato in California.  Why don’t we try to do the same product?” 

BURT WOLF:   What happened?

RUTH WALTENSPIEL:  Well, in the first year we dried two truck-and-trailer loads of dried tomatoes.  Here we are, a little over ten years down the road, and last year I did nine hundred truck-and-trailer loads of California tomatoes and put them up under our Sonoma Brand labels. 

BURT WOLF:   How do you use the tomatoes at home?

RUTH WALTENSPIEL:  Well, they’re how I jump-start my meals.  I like to add the intense flavor and the bright color to make things that are sometimes a little ordinary, special.  For instance, you can put them in stew, they don’t disintegrate.  The flavor and the consistency stays there with you.

BURT WOLF:   What else?

RUTH WALTENSPIEL:  Salads; wonderful in pasta salads.  A really, really favorite of mine is spinach salad.  That deep green of beautiful spinach and the bright, robust red of the tomato, and the flavors are both strong so they compliment each other. 

BURT WOLF:   A little piece of French bread, toasted... a little cheese on top, tomato...

RUTH WALTENSPIEL:  Aah.  We’ll never make it to lunch.

BURT WOLF:   This is lunch!!

RUTH WALTENSPIEL:  This is lunch!  Do you think this is enough tomatoes to make it through the day?

BURT WOLF:   Yeah; I’m waiting for the truck to come with the pasta, though.


As I was leaving, Ruth sent me off with some samples to test, which is precisely what I did that evening when I got back to Martin Frost's kitchen at the Clift. Martin put those dried tomatoes to particularly good use in his recipe for chicken breasts with a dried tomato stuffing.  A pocket is cut into a skinless half breast of chicken. In goes a light coating of pesto sauce which is made by blending some basil leaves together with a little oil. Next a few dried tomatoes go in and the flaps of the chicken breast are folded over the dried tomatoes.  A little oil and butter are heated together in a sauté pan. The chicken goes in and cooks for a minute on each side. Then the pan goes into a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for ten minutes. While the chicken is cooking Martin prepares some bell pepper flavored risotto.  A little oil is heated in a sauce pan. In goes some butter... a quarter cup of chopped onion... a cup of rice... then three cups of hot chicken stock are added... about a half cup at a time.

MARTIN FROST:  ...and every time, you’ll see the risotto just absorbs up all the liquid, you add a touch more.  Don’t give it too much; it may be thirsty.  Just give it a little bit at a time.

Then Martin takes a yellow pepper, roasts it, removes the skin, purees it, and adds it as a coloring and flavoring agent.  When the rice is finished it goes onto a serving plate. The chicken comes out of the oven... gets sliced... and placed onto the rice... a garnish of greens and it's ready to serve.

The farmers and ranchers of California have made their state one of the world’s most important areas for the production of foodstuffs.  The chefs of California seem to take a particular delight in preparing dishes that utilize a number of local products in one recipe.  Martin Frost makes the point in his dish of medallions of beef with a sauce made with California dried plums... which also go under the name of prunes.  Medallions of beef are salted and peppered. A tablespoon of butter goes onto the hot surface of a sauté pan to melt. The medallions go into. They cook for thirty seconds on each side... then out of the pan and onto a work surface.

MARTIN FROST:  We’re just sealing off the beef before we put the prune and barley topping on, and that seals in the juices.  If you just put the beef in the oven, then all the blood runs out and it becomes very dry.

Two pitted prunes are chopped and go into a bowl. An ounce of cooked barley is added. An ounce of bread crumbs. An ounce of mixed chopped herbs... chervil, chives, and tarragon.  A teaspoon of butter. Salt and pepper. Mix that all together into a paste and put a tablespoon or so of the mixture onto the top of each piece of beef.  The beef goes into a heat-proof pan and into a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for ten minutes.  While that's cooking... a tablespoon of butter goes into a sauté pan followed by a minced clove of garlic, some spinach leaves... sliced mushrooms... small cubes of pre-cooked yellow squash, zucchini and carrots.  As soon as the vegetables are hot they go onto a serving plate... followed by the beef and the pan drippings.

The discovery of gold in California was the most important thing that had happened there. In the month before it was discovered, the population of San Francisco was 812. Two years later, the population was over 25,000.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   Many of the fortune hunters who showed up were from France and they were often nicknamed Keskeydees because they were always saying "Qu'est-ce qu'il dit?" to each other. Qu'est-ce qu'il dit is a French phrase that means..."what is he saying?" Not all of the Frenchmen spoke English, and the ones that didn’t were always saying "Qu'est-ce qu'il dit?" to the ones that did.  “What is that guy saying to us?”  Two of the guys who showed up from France were Louis and Pierre Pellier. At one point Pierre wanted to go back to France and marry his childhood sweetheart. Louis said, “hey, it’s fine, but when you come back here, I want you to bring a cutting from a special plum tree.  Pierre was a good brother.  He went home, married his childhood sweetheart, returned to California and brought the plum cutting.

Louis grafted the cuttings onto the rootstock of wild American plums and the California dried plum industry was born. Today California is the world's largest producer of dried plums, also known as prunes. The state supplies about 70 percent of the world's prunes and it's proud of it.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  And why not?  A prune is a good source of fiber, vitamin A, potassium, iron, and complex carbohydrates. It’s also totally free of fat and sodium. And if you want to call it a dried plum, go ahead -- because that's what it is.

The chefs of California also take advantage of the grape crop.  The grape growers of California have gotten to the point where they are producing some of the finest grapes in the world.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   Most table grapes are eaten just the way they are because they a make a healthful snack. They also show up in salads.  But we were trying to think of a recipe that actually cooked grapes, and it wasn’t easy.  The only one that we could come up with is an old French dish called Sole Veronique.  The grapes are peeled and they come in a heavy cream sauce... not a very modern recipe. So we decided to update it, and we came up with something called Monkfish Monica... but quite frankly, it’ll work just as well as Salmon Sally and Chicken Chelsea.

Martin starts by dipping the monkfish into a mixture of chopped green herbs.  Today he's using chives, chervil and parsley.

BURT WOLF:   How did the monkfish get its name?

MARTIN FROST:  Well, back in the Mediterranean, the fishermen used to come in with their catch, and they used to catch in just one net, they didn’t sort it out at sea, and they’d just throw it back in.  It was the ugliest fish you’ve ever seen, so they didn’t want any of this.  So then, the monks would be standing there and they’d just wade in there, pick up the fish as it was struggling for oxygen, and that’s how it got its name.  Believe It Or Not.

BURT WOLF:   Only the monks would eat it!


A little salt and pepper and the fish gets wrapped in strips of Italian bacon, which is called Panchetta. At this point a some oil and butter go into a sauté pan.

MARTIN FROST:  We add the butter for the flavor, and we have to cut that then with the olive oil to stop the butter burning.

Then the fish goes into the pan. 

MARTIN FROST:  So if you can’t get the pancetta bacon, what you could use is the regular bacon and then you’d just use... even ask your butcher to slice it thinner or use less of it, ‘cause it’s a stronger flavor.

The fish gets browned for about a minute on all sides... then into a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 8 to 10 minutes.  While the fish is baking... a little oil and butter go into a second sauté pan.  Some sliced snow peas or green beans are cooked quickly and go onto a serving plate.  The monkfish comes out of the oven and gets sliced into cylinders and placed on the dish. Finally, some frozen seedless green grapes.

MARTIN FROST:  The reason why I freeze them is because it concentrates the flavor of the grape, and it also cuts very well with the panetta bacon and the fish.

A few added touches of color and it's ready to serve.

Grapes have been cultivated for at least 6,000 years, and we have scientific evidence to support that fact from Bronze Age settlements that are being excavated in Switzerland. The ancient Greeks were big deal grape growers, and so were the farmers of the ancient Roman Empire.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   Most grapes that are grown commercially are grown for one of three reasons:  to make raisins... to make wine... or to make grapes that are eaten fresh as table grapes.  97 percent of the table grapes eaten in the United States are grown right here in the valleys of California, and they are grown from vines that are direct descendants of the vines that were grown during the Bronze Age. It's nice to have a family history.

Since 1972 grape consumption has increased faster than that of any other fresh fruit. They are a good source of vitamins A, B complex and C. They are also low in sodium and low in calories. A cup of grapes only contains 100 calories. They are very easy to use... no prep... just a quick rinse. And most importantly, people like the way they taste.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   I like to use grapes as a general snack. They were particularly useful when my kids were growing up. I would lay out individual grapes on a tray... freeze them... and then store them in a bag. The kids considered the grapes a frozen sweet... which, of course, they were. And the kids were pretty sweet then, too.

Thanks for being with us here in Sonoma, and please join us next time as we travel around the world looking for good things to eat and the reasons why people eat them.  I’m Burt Wolf.



SOUNDMAN:  Put it down.

PRODUCER:  Do it the same way you did before -- “Erk-Erk.”


SOUNDMAN:  Let me see something; I’ve gotta clean it out.

(very lame:)  SQUEAK!  SQUEAK!  SQUEAK!  SQUEAK!

BURT WOLF:   That’s why I did it upside down.  It works better.


PRODUCER:  I think we got it.

CAMERAMAN:  I’m sure we got it.


Burt Wolf's Menu: Show-Northern California - #104

Northern California ... at one point in time it was Russia's major outpost in America, and it still shows its influence.  We'll take a look at their original fort ...  and pick up some great tasting recipes from the neighborhood.  We'll visit the home of America's most important horticulturalist and find out how he changed the way we all eat.  So join me in Northern California for BURT WOLF’S MENU.

During the 15 and 1600's, European governments sent their ships across the Atlantic to establish colonies in the New World. At the same time that the Europeans were expanding their influence across the Atlantic, the Russian Tsar, Peter the Great, started moving his explorers to and across the Pacific. Vitus Bering, a Russian admiral, sailed across the area that is now called the Bering Straits and claimed Alaska for his Tsar. Russian trading companies began to make big money in Pacific seal skins and otter fur.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   In 1799, the Tsar, the Tsar’s family, the Tsar’s friends, and the Tsar’s friends' friends invested in a new stock company called "The Russian-American Company". The Tsar also gave that company an exclusive  monopoly to conduct his business and trade in North America.  They didn’t do too much of the “trading” thing; they were a lot more interested in the “taking” thing.  The most southerly outpost of this company was just north of San Francisco, right here at a spot called Fort Ross.

Today Fort Ross is a state historic park.

DAN MURLEY:   ...and what we’re gonna do is, all of us here, in order to warn everyone else that it’s gonna fire, we’re gonna yell three times “Fire in the hole,” and so that everyone knows that we’re gonna do something here so we don’t catch anyone by surprise.

Park Ranger Dan Murley has been working here since 1978.

DAN MURLEY:  Okay, so are we ready?  One, two, three.


DAN MURLEY (to Burt):  The reason the Russians came here initially to this location, they came to California to get food for their people in Alaska, which is kinda right up your alley, that food angle.  So here we are inside the stockade, and this is where the upper-level managers and clerks of the Russian-American Company lived.  A majority of the population actually lived outside the stockade.  And it was in here where most of the business was transacted, but I think most of the interesting life that went on here at Ross was actually outside the walls.  ... This building we have here is the only original building left here at Ross, and this house was built, probably, in about 1832.  And it’s one of only four Russian-built buildings left in North America; the other three are in Alaska.

BURT WOLF:   What went on in here?

DAN MURLEY:  This is the house where Alexander Rotchev, the final manager, and his wife lived with their children.  And they lived here, and, it was said, in quite high style.  They had piano, they had French wines; an interesting place to have been during the final days at Ross.  I don’t know how -- what it was like in the early days, but in the final days it was pretty nice.  And eventually, in the future, hopefully we’ll have the actual rooms built and furnished the way they were during the time of Alexander Rotchev.  That’s a dream now, but hopefully someday it will become a reality.

BURT WOLF:   It’s nice to see a building still standing.

DAN MURLEY:  Yes, yes, and one of the interesting things about this building is the architecture.  This building is similar to many of the ones that are preserved still in Siberia.  The interesting thing here is the way that they overlapped these two redwood logs to join them together in the middle of the wall.  There are no nails used, and it’s quite an interesting piece of architecture that’s been preserved here in California. ... This building is a reconstruction of what was called the Officials’ Barracks or the Officers’ Quarters, and in here, visiting dignitaries or visiting company executives, so to speak, would stay here while they were visiting Ross.  Within this building, what we’ve tried to represent is what it might have been like to live back in those days, how it would have been to stay here, to come and visit Ross.  And you can see we have the pantry here, where some of the items would have been stored, and the oven, where the bread might have been baked, and these are all modelled after authentic Russian interiors.  The people that were in this building probably ate domestic beef, sheep, pork; whereas the diet on the other side of the stockade walls was totally different.

BURT WOLF:   What did they eat on the outside?

DAN MURLEY:  The outside, probably a lot of what they ate was related to the sea.  They ate sea mammals, sea lions, and in some of our excavations, our archeological excavations here in front of the stockade, we have actually found whale vertabrae and other whale bone to show that at least one whale was killed here and taken, because the California Gray Whales do migrate directly by here in front of the fort. ... You’ll notice that on two of the corners of the stockade, they had what are called blockhouses.  And in them they had ships’ cannon that were pointed in directions to cover each wall and to cover out to sea.  They never had to fire the cannon in a battle; there was never a battle at Ross, but they did use these cannon to signal ships off-shore.  And so it was highly fortified and fortunately they never had to use these defenses.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   A last-ditch effort was made to save the Fort in the late 1830's when Russian Baron von Wrangell went to Mexico for help. The Mexicans had just won their independence in the Mexican Revolution from Spain, and they were perfectly willing to help.  And they only wanted one thing in exchange. They wanted the government of Russia to recognize the new government of Mexico. At the time, the government of Russia was Tsar Nicholas I, and he was an unwavering believer in the absolute power of a monarch.  It just wasn’t in his nature to recognize a government that had come into existence as the result of a revolution against a king.  And so he decided to give up Fort Ross.  In 1842, the Russians sold Fort Ross and moved back to Alaska.  They sold it to a man named Sutter, who lived back there over the hills.  Bad move. Seven years later, in 1849, gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill and the California gold rush began.  And the Russians didn’t have any part of it.  That’s pretty much what happened to them a few years later, when they sold their Alaska holdings to the United States government just before the Alaska gold rush.  It’s so important in life to get the timing right.

For thirty years, starting in 1812, the Russian government maintained its most distant outpost in North America at Fort Ross. And during that period, it conducted a series of detailed explorations of the area. The explorations began along a river that ran inland from the region near the fort. The river eventually became known as the Russian River because the Russians were always on it. Today California's Russian River is one of the most picturesque spots in the country... with a stretch of water that offers some of the nation's best canoeing... canoeing that takes you past acre after acre of famous vineyards. This is prime California wine country. It's also home to the Armstrong Woods, which is one of our largest preserves of ancient trees... Mother Nature at her most beautiful. The main town along the river is called Healdsburg.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   Harmon Heald came to California from Ohio during the gold rush years. He’d hoped to strike it rich, but he found no gold... so he took his next best shot and founded a town. In 1852 he built his home and a general store here and laid out the town to which he gave his name.

The center of Healdsburg is the beautifully restored plaza... the perfect spot to spend a restful afternoon. Across the street is the Healdsburg Museum, housed in a 1910 Andrew Carnegie Library... and packed with historical collections, much of which have been donated by local families.  Healdsburg is also the home of the well- respected Samba Java Restaurant, and its talented chef... Colleen McGlynn.  Today she's making a vegetable chili.  A cast iron pot goes onto the stove. A little corn oil goes in... a diced onion... a cup of diced celery... some stirring... a chopped green bell pepper and a chopped red bell pepper. Five minutes of cooking.

BURT WOLF:   You know, up until the 1900s, when we did all our cooking in cast iron pots like that, women never had iron deficiency anemia, because every time they cooked, they got a little iron in a totally usable form from the pot.

Next in... 6 serrano chili peppers, minced. Followed by 6 chopped garlic cloves... a tablespoon of chili powder... a tablespoon of cumin... and 6 cups of pre-cooked beans. You can use pinto beans or garbanzo beans... or northern white beans.  A little stirring.  Four cups of vegetable stock or canned broth.  Salt and pepper and 15 minutes of simmering.  At that point the chili is thickened with a quarter of a cup of masa harina which is a flour made from specially treated corn.

COLLEEN McGLYNN:  Masa harina is the ground corn meal that’s used in making tamales.  Most Mexican markets will carry it, but if you don’t have that, you can also thicken this by adding a little cornstarch mixture, cornstarch and water.  It’s just to give it a little better viscosity.  But if you have access to this corn meal, it’s a nice flavor and it thickens it quite well.    

Then 2 cups of corn kernels go in and one grilled zucchini that's been sliced.  When all the ingredients are fully heated, the finished chili goes into a serving bowl where it’s garnished with some slices of Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese and some Tortilla chips.

Colleen's second recipe is based on California rice, which is grown just over the hills from here in Sacramento.  It is Colleen’s version of a New Orleans Jambalaya.  Two pounds of sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces are browned in a large pot. In a second pot Colleen puts the shells that have been taken off of four cups of medium shrimp... followed by two quarts of fish stock and then two quarts of chicken stock, or, if you like, all four quarts, chicken stock. Bring the stock to a simmer and hold it there for ten minutes.  Into the pot with the sausages... two cups of diced celery... four cups of minced onion... two cups of green bell peppers that have been cored, seeded, and diced. Ten more minutes of cooking. The recipe continues with two tablespoons of minced serrano chiles and two tablespoons of minced garlic.  All that sautés together for about 15 minutes. A cup of chopped canned tomatoes go in... and a cup of tomato juice.  A few bay leaves.  A cup of tomato paste.  Then the soup stock goes in through a strainer, which removes the shrimp shells. Cooking the stock with the shrimp shells adds a rich shellfish flavor that makes the small extra step worth the effort.  Next... A few red chili flakes... pepper... salt... three cups of long grain rice... the cover... and 15 minutes of simmering.  Then the four cups of shrimps from the shrimp shells finally make their appearance.

COLLEEN McGLYNN:  This isn’t going to take much longer now... shrimp won’t take but a few minutes to cook through.  We don’t want to overcook them, so it’s important that your rice is almost done.

BURT WOLF:   Boy, does that smell good!


Five more minutes of cooking ... a few torpedo onions or scallions and the Samba Java Jambalaya is ready to serve.

The cultivation of rice in the United States began in the early 1700's. A ship sailing off the coast of South Carolina was damaged in a storm and headed into Charleston for repairs. The ship had been carrying some Golde Seede Rice as part of its cargo and the Captain used some of the seed as part payment for his visit and the repair work.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  A local planter placed the seeds into the area’s fertile soil, and by 1726 the port of Carolina was exporting over 4,500 metric tons of rice... rice that soon became the world standard for quality.  Like everything else in North America, rice farming began to move  west. The Gulf Coast states planted rice, but it wasn’t until the mid-1800's, when mechanized farming techniques were introduced, that rice farming really took off. The states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas became major areas for rice production.

When gold was discovered in California, hundreds of thousands of people rushed in, including 40,000 Chinese. Some were prospectors, some worked in supporting crafts, but all of them held on to their traditional Asian diet.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   Rice was a major element in the meals of the Chinese, and soon the California farmers were producing rice to meet the new demands. The hard clay soil around the city of Sacramento was not ideal for most crops... but it was perfect for rice. By the 1920's California was a major rice producing state. Today the United States is probably the most advanced and innovative rice producing nation on the planet, and after years of trade negotiations we are actually exporting rice to Japan.

Healdsburg is about as picturesque a northern California town as you could find.  The physical center of Healdsburg is the town square... the gastronomic center is the Downtown Bakery & Creamery.  Opened in 1987, it is exactly what a real down-home bakery should be... good bread... sticky buns... great coffee in the morning... pies... cakes... desserts... and ice creams made fresh all day long. And everything made from scratch. Kathleen Stewart is the CEO of the company which stands for Chief Eating Operative... she's also the boss baker.  Today she's making a fresh fruit pie in a corn meal or polenta pastry. 

KATHLEEN STEWART:  We start with some softened sweet butter...


She starts by creaming three and a half ounces of sweet butter together with one half cup of sugar, and scraping the mixture down the inside of the bowl as the process goes on.  Two egg yolks are added... a half teaspoon of salt... a cup of all-purpose flour and a third of a cup of fine corn meal or a medium-fine polenta. The flour and the corn meal are added in a little at a time.  Then the pastry is taken out... divided into two pieces... one slightly larger than the other... and wrapped in plastic.  Then the dough goes into the refrigerator for an hour. When it comes out it goes onto a floured surface. The larger piece is rolled out to a thickness of a quarter of an inch and shaped to fit a nine inch loose bottomed tart pan.  The dough lined pan sits in the freezer for twenty minutes which will help prevent the dough from shrinking when it goes into a hot oven.  Which is precisely what it does next... 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  When it comes out, three tablespoons of flour go onto the tart plus a single tablespoon of corn meal. That forms a base to absorb the moisture from the fruit.  Then the fruit mixture goes on... today it's poached peaches and raspberries.  A sprinkling of sugar.  Then the second piece of dough gets rolled out and placed on top.  The edges get pressed down.  A quick paint job with heavy cream... a dusting of granulated sugar... and an hour in a pre-heated 350 degree oven.  When it comes out... it cools down... and it’s ready to be served.

Kathleen’s second recipe is for a honey nut bar. A sweet pastry crust is pre-baked in an 8 inch loose bottomed tart shell.  The filling is made by taking a large sauce pan... and melting four ounces of sweet butter, together with four tablespoons of honey... and a half cup of brown sugar.

KATHLEEN STEWART:  You can use any flavor honey for this; a lavender-flavored honey would be wonderful, any... any kind you prefer, but something with a flavor really adds another dimension to it.

That mixture is brought to a boil and held there for two minutes.  Then the pot comes off the heat and two tablespoons of cream gets mixed in... followed by one and a half cups of chopped nuts.

KATHLEEN STEWART:   Today we’re using sliced almonds.  But you can use any kind of nut you like with this tart... pecans, cashew nuts, macadamia nuts for a tropical-type tart, use bits of dried fruit if you like, dried cherries, dried cranberries...

The filling gets spooned into the pastry shell.  Make sure the nuts float evenly in the filling and not just on the top.

KATHLEEN STEWART:  It’ll bake thirty minutes at 350 degrees...   

When it comes out of the oven it comes out of the tart shell and onto a serving plate to cool.  Then into a mouth!

Honey has been part of the human diet for over three million years and has always had a special spot on the menu. In ancient Egypt it was a form of money. It was also used as an offering to the gods and as a food for sacred animals.

Honey has always been a favorite ingredient for bakers. It not only sweetens a recipe, but because honey has a high fructose content, it has a higher sweetening power than standard sugar. It also retains moisture, so the final product stays fresher longer.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  When you’re substituting honey for granulated sugar in a recipe that you normally use, there are two you should do. First of all, start by choosing a mild-flavored honey.  Second, only substitute honey for half the granulated sugar in the recipe until you see how the recipe works out.

Reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by a quarter cup for each cup of honey used. Obviously, honey is a liquid ingredient and granulated sugar a dry one, and you need to adjust the recipe accordingly.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Add an extra half-teaspoon of baking soda for every cup of honey that you are using, and reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees to make sure that whatever it is you are baking does not over-brown.

The trick to measuring honey accurately and easily is to spray a little cooking oil into the measuring cup or spoon before you pour in the honey. The oil sets up a non-stick surface and the honey comes out easily and accurately measured.  And that will ensure a honey of a result.

The county seat of Sonoma is a town called Santa Rosa. About 100,000 people live here which gives it a manageable size. Quiet but not sleepy... stimulating but not stressful. When General Vallejo was sent here in the 1830's to distribute the land to loyal followers of the Mexican government, he granted this area to his mother-in-law.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Some people felt that was the act of a generous and devoted son-in-law, and other folks thought it was a really cheap shot to get her off his ranch down the valley. Cheap shot because the land that he gave her belonged to the native American tribes. You know, it’s really easy to be generous with somebody else’s land or  money... most politicians can prove that to you. Be that as it may... the first Americans to show up here came in 1846... they built a trading post and set the tone for the town.

Now this is a rather unusual building. It's a church that was built from one tree. The entire structure was erected in 1873 from the lumber that was cut from one giant redwood. The tree was 275 feet high and 18 feet in diameter. When it was cut, it produced 78,000 feet of board. These days the building is a museum dedicated to the work of Robert L. Ripley.

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):   My local newspaper carried the Ripley strip, and when I was a kid, I read it every day... Believe it or Not.

Just across the street from the Ripley Museum is the home of Luther Burbank. If you're interested in food or flowers, old Luther is a mighty important character. He was born in Lancaster, Massachusetts in 1849 and studied horticulture. When he moved to Santa Rosa at the age of 26 he announced that Santa Rosa was "the chosen spot of all this earth as far as Nature is concerned."

BURT WOLF (ON CAMERA):  Well... he should have known; he turned out to be one of the great all-time   horticulturalists.  And it was in these gardens that he conducted many of his experiments.  He developed over eight hundred new varieties; two hundred of them were fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts. And the all-time great baking potato, famous under the Idaho or Russet name?  It was a Burbank.

Cheryl Harris is the garden curator.

CHERYL HARRIS:  So Burbank introduced a whole lot of vegetables, and one of them was the elephant garlic, which he spent a number of years at.  They were really fine seeds, so it was hard to get going.  And he crossed it many times with regular garlic and came up with huge heads...


CHERYL HARRIS:  And each clove is very large, but they’re very mild in flavor, and so you can actually use several of them in your stew or soup. 

BURT WOLF:   Ah, that’s what an artichoke looks like when it’s let go.

CHERYL HARRIS:  Yes, that one’s being allowed to bloom to show that it’s in the thistle family.  It makes a beautiful flower, and nice for dried arrangements.

BURT WOLF:   Ahh.  So if you don’t get to it before it’s ready to go in the pot, then you get beautiful flowers afterwards. 

CHERYL HARRIS:  That’s right.

BURT WOLF:   I like that. ... What were the most popular fruits and vegetables that he developed?

CHERYL HARRIS:  Well, he was really interested in plums; of course, he worked on apples and pears and quince and a lot of other fruits too, but he introduced over 110 varieties of plums.  Santa Rosa plum is still popular today.  Peppers and eggplant and tomatoes, all the things we like today -- rhubarb is maybe one of the ones he’s most well-known for, yeah... and --

BURT WOLF:   I always think of him in connection with the Luther Burbank Potato.

CHERYL HARRIS:  Oh, yes.  Of course.  I tend to forget about the potato... (Laughter)

BURT WOLF:   Why?  Wait, what do you mean --

CHERYL HARRIS:  Well, it was one of his first developments...

BURT WOLF:   Ohhhhh.

CHERYL HARRIS:  ... and, uh... it was...

BURT WOLF:   You don’t like potatoes.

CHERYL HARRIS:  I don’t like potatoes.  (Laughter)

BURT WOLF:   Okay, then let’s just say it right the way it is.  I mean, speak the truth. 

CHERYL HARRIS:  (over)  Pasta!

BURT WOLF:   “I don’t like potatoes, I don’t want to talk about potatoes.”  Okay.

CHERYL HARRIS:  (Laughing)  Sorry.

BURT WOLF:   Nope.

CHERYL HARRIS:  ... This is Burbank’s spineless cactus.  He worked for fifteen to seventeen years in developing a spineless form, with the idea that maybe some of the vast areas, arid areas of the world could be planted in cactus for cattle grazing.

BURT WOLF:   And it had no points and nothing to hurt the cattle.

CHERYL HARRIS:  Right.  So they wouldn’t cut their mouths.

BURT WOLF:   How’d it work out?

CHERYL HARRIS:  Not too well.  They ate it down to the quick so there was nothing left. 

BURT WOLF:   So he was half right.  They liked it.

CHERYL HARRIS:  Right.  They loved it. ... Well, this was Burbank’s office; this is where he did all of his work, and you can see, these are copies of his original notes.  He would actually trace around the fruit and then give a brief description.  And then the number of stars tells how much he liked it, whether it was somewhat good or wonderful.

BURT WOLF:   Same technique we use for movies.  Or restaurants, actually.  Right?

CHERYL HARRIS:  (over)  Yes, yes.

BURT WOLF:   This was a three-star food. ... He was really quite a character, wasn’t he?

CHERYL HARRIS:  Really.  A very interesting man.  He was so interested in trying new things and larger flowers and new colors and whatever he could come up with.

Thanks for being with us here in Northern California, and please join us next time as we travel around the world looking for good things to eat and the reasons why people eat them.  I’m Burt Wolf.

Local Flavors: St. Augustine, Florida - #113

Every town in the world has a local flavor.  A flavor that comes from its signature dishes, from a group of preferred ingredients, or a type of restaurant that is popular.  It is a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of equipment or a cooking technique.  There are dozens of things that make up the local flavor, but the most important influences are always the result of history, geography and economics.

This is St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest continually occupied city in the eastern United States.  It has preserved much of its past in ways that make it easy to get a look at some of our nation's earliest history.  So please, join me, Burt Wolf, for a taste of the local flavors of St. Augustine, Florida.

In 1513, Juan Ponce De Leon sailed along the Atlantic coast of North America searching for a fountain.  A fountain whose waters could return a man's youthful vigor.  There were rumors that it produced headaches, blue vision and dizziness, but he was still determined to find it.  He never did.  But the Spanish continued their interest in the area, and for good reason.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The primary occupation of the average conquistador consisted of taking gold and silver from the native populations and shipping it back to Spain in a treasure galleon. 

The ships would start in the Caribbean, pass between Miami and Cuba and head up the east coast of Florida.  Just as they got even with Cape Canaveral, they would make a quick right and head back to Spain.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Phillip the Second was the King of Spain at the time, and he disliked the idea of his treasure ships sailing along a coast controlled by the French or the English, both of whom were his enemies.  Not only were they interested in stealing his treasures, but if they ever took control of Spain, they would force him to eat heavy sauces and large pieces of roasted beef, both of which he disliked. And so he sent Pedro Menendez to secure the coast of Florida.  Menendez arrived on St. Augustine's feast day, and so he named his settlement accordingly. 

The most impressive structure from St. Augustine's Spanish period is the Castillo de San Marcos which was built in 1672.  It was constructed from a local shell rock called coquina, which appears to have made it invincible.

When enemy cannon balls would hit the coquina, it would just slide into the shells and stop without causing much damage.  In 1702, James Moore, the English Governor of South Carolina, arrived with his troops, and for 50 days, besieged the Castillo.  Fifteen hundred Spanish citizens from St. Augustine and the surrounding area rushed into the fort and refused to surrender.

They had a deep well in the court yard that supplied them with plenty of fresh water.  And instead of filling the moat with sea water, they filled it with cattle.  The British finally gave up the siege, declared the Castillo impregnable, and went home to South Carolina. 

The Castillo is surrounded by the old city.  And the best way to see it is in a horse drawn carriage.


BURT WOLF: Our guide was Michelle Gastineau from Tour St. Augustine.  All ahead one third.

MICHELLE GASTINEAU  ON CAMERA: My family's been here since 1777.  And I'm a descendant of an indentured servant named Andres Pacetti, who was part of a group brought from a small island in Minorca in 1768 to work on a plantation here in Florida.  Minorka's part of the Balearic island chain.  Most people are familiar with Majorca.  Then, there's Minorca.  The major and the minor in the island chain are off the coast of Spain.  We're here by the heart of the city, the city plaza.  The plaza itself is actually the oldest thing in the city of St. Augustine.  It was laid out in 1598.  The Spanish King had decreed that all of the businesses and all of the churches had to face the central plaza, and many of them do to this day.

This is our bay front.  And it's beautiful.  It was actually created by Henry Morrison Flagler.  This street, this strip of land didn't exist until Flagler had it filled in.  He wanted to create the Riviera of the Americas.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Flagler was a guy who came down and built all the railroads and did all the land development in Florida.

MICHELLE GASTINEAU  ON CAMERA:  He's known as the father of Florida tourism.  Had it not been for Flagler’s development of the Florida east coast railway and a series of huge hotels, it might have been years before saint -- St. Augustine and Florida in general, had become a tourist destination.

St. Augustine was literally a walled Catholic city.  There was a palm log wall that ran from the fort, the Castillo de San Marcos, west, and then turned and went back around to the south and to the bay. 

MICHELLE GASTINEAU  ON CAMERA:  Now, the city gates behind us are made of coquina, our native shell stone, and they were placed here in 1808.  They replaced a set of wooden gates that were there.  There was always a drawbridge.  And this was the only land entrance into the city.  The drawbridge was raised every evening and not lowered again until the next morning.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: So you had to get home early.


One of St. Augustine's more unusual couples is the St. Augustine love tree directly behind us.  It has a live palm growing right up out of the middle of an oak tree.  And they're locked in a permanent loving embrace.

MICHELLE GASTINEAU  ON CAMERA:  Well, St. Augustine's a very romantic city.  Now, legend has it that if you propose marriage underneath the love tree and if the young woman accepts, well then your marriage will be blessed forever.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: What if you're standing under the tree and she doesn't accept.

MICHELLE GASTINEAU ON CAMERA: Well, then you don't have a problem. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Thanks a lot, Dee.



DEE ON CAMERA: Enjoy the rest of your stay.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I'm sure we will.

During the 1500s, the Spanish built the first St. Augustine lighthouse so their ships could get a fix on their position.  Unfortunately, Sir Francis Drake also got a fix on it, and in 1586, sailed in and sacked the city.  Sacking was Sir Francis' favorite thing, and he did it as often as he could.  And of course, the Spanish built lighthouses as often as they could.  It was a complex and emotional relationship, but they seemed to need it.  Eventually, this became the site of Florida's first lighthouse.  It's 165 feet high with a spiral staircase running up the center.  If you are in excellent shape, have recently completed the advanced Stairmaster class, and have a note from your cardiologist, you might want to climb up to the top and get a great view of the city.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: You guys want anything else before I come back up?

In 1763, the French and Indian war came to an end and the Spanish gave Florida to the English.  At that point, a Captain Peavett of the British militia arrived in town and bought himself a house right here on St. Francis Street. 

His wife suggested that they turn the downstairs into a tavern so that they could feed the officers who lived in the barracks across the street.  Today, the property is known as the oldest house, and archaeologists believe that it has been continuously occupied since the early 1600s. 

You can tour the property and visit the detached kitchen.  Kitchens were built away from the house because people feared setting the main house on fire.  And the distance between the kitchen and the house helped keep the main structure cooler.  

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The Spanish, like most governments, had a rather bizarre approach to taxation and placed a levy on all cupboards and shelves attached to walls.

In order to avoid the payment, people put their food on planks that hung from the ceiling, thereby creating America's first tax shelter.

A few blocks away is the Pena-Peck House, which takes its name from two of its previous owners.  A royal treasurer of Spain, Juan Esteban de Pena and Seth Peck, who was a local doctor in the mid 1800s.  These days, it's the home of the women’s exchange shop.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The women’s exchanges were started in the middle of the 1800s for women who had fallen on difficult times, wanted to earn some extra money and didn't want to anybody to know about it.  They'd make something in their home.  Something of quality.  Food, a sweater, a quilt.  And the store would sell it. When the store got the money, it would deliver it to the women at home, and no one was the wiser.  Today, there are still 27 women’s exchanges operating in the United States.

The one here in St. Augustine also earns funds by renting out their garden for parties.  Particularly those parties where a woman exchanges vows.  

Perhaps I should keep my day job. 

Tourism in St. Augustine goes back to the 1820s. Because there were no hotels visitors stayed in rooming houses. Running a rooming house was one of the few socially acceptable businesses for a proper lady.

One of the oldest rooming houses is the Ximenez-Fatio house which was opened by Miss Louisa Fatio in 1855.Guy Tillis took me on a tour of the building.   

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: The most important room in a boarding house was the dining room.  The reason being, your reputation was made or broken by how good the food was.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: My life story

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: Three meals were laid out a day.  The large meal was a midday meal.  Leftovers made into the evening meal.  The landlady charged $20 a week to stay here.  And that included three meals a day.  You know, her china was so valuable to her, she never even let it leave the dining room. It was washed in a dry skin.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And then it went right back on the table.

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: Right back on the table.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Amazing.  What's that?

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: Well, that's a spittoon.


GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: After the evening meal, the gentlemen stayed in here smoking and drinking.  The side board doubled up as a bar.  And chewing tobacco.  You'll notice that spittoon on the floor.  A piece of oil cloth underneath for those guys with bad aim. And that ... that's a punkah.  A small slave child will pull these cords, causing the punkah or poonka to sway back and forth.  This kept the flies off the food. Hopefully

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  Boy if that didn't give you a headache, nothing will.

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: This house was purchased in 1939 by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America and the State of Florida.  In fact, this is their State House for the Florida Society.  They stress the importance of lifestyle.  Consequently, it looks like people have just checked in and gone for a stroll.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And left their mattress out here.

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: Well, just like today, you prepare a room for a new guest.  Weather permitting, airing the feather mattress out on the railing.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Feathers in here?

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: Well, you'd better believe it.  If it was moss, that's where you'd get bed bugs bite.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Don't let the bed bugs bite.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Don't put moss in your bed.

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: No, not at all.  This was a good time to tighten the ropes up on the rope bed.  Back then, they called that process straining the cords. It was a job for a nine or ten year old boy.  Rope beds are pretty basic in principle, and to tie the ropes up, you use a device called a turn key or the rope wrench. Not every household had one of these.  In fact, if you wanted to use yours, you had to go from neighbor to neighbor to locate it, because you were constantly loaning it out.  But it was very easy to operate.  You just went down to the first loop from the knot, sliding the rope into the slot and turning it as tight as you could. And then, to get it even tighter, you put it behind your leg, and then insert a peg in that hole along with the rope.  And that makes it good and tight.  You do the same thing at the opposite end using another peg.  And once you get this peg in, you can take that peg out, and just repeating the process till you got to the last hole.  And then you just re-knot the rope.  And that's where we get the old expression ...


GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: That's right. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And don't let the bedbugs bite.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: You learn something new every day.

GUY TILLIS ON CAMERA: And then they put the mattress right back on the bed.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I would hope so. 

In 1821, the very same year that the United States took over St. Augustine, a ship arrived from Cuba.  And along with the passengers came a yellow fever epidemic.  But it was a strangely selective epidemic which spared most of the locals.

Word spread that St. Augustine had a particularly healthful climate. By the end of the 1800s, families were coming down from the north to spend the winter in St. Augustine.  They would stay for months hoping to avoid the illnesses associated with cold weather and regain the strength of their youth.  Three hundred years after Juan Ponce De Leon came to St. Augustine and ended up discountin' the fountain, it was going on all over again.

While I was in St. Augustine, I stayed at the Casa Monica Hotel, which has been listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.  The building is in the Moorish revival style, and it feels like Lawrence of Arabia might check in at any moment.  Those towers contain magnificent two and three story suites.  There's also a nice pool, a great bar, excellent restaurant and a feeling of late 19th century elegance. They even have a period automobile to take guests around town.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  The Casa Monica was originally opened in 1888 by Franklin Smith, who was the founder of the YMCA.  St. Augustine was known as the Newport of the south, and the rich and infamous were coming down by the car load.  The Rockefellers, the Carnegies, the Dupont’s, all that pre-dot.com money. Well, Henry, Andrew and John D. are no longer around, and the dots are looking a little blurry.  But it's still a great place to hang out, and quite classy. 

Tonight, the local Chaines des Rotisseurs is holding in a dinner in the hotel's restaurant.  It's a great honor for the restaurants and its chefs. The Chaines began in the 1200s as a guild of roasters.  Today, it's more like a social club interested in getting together and eating and drinking the best food in the neighborhood.  Chef Nyfeler prepared a nine course tasting menu using Florida’s gastronomic history for his inspiration. 

When the Spanish explorers arrived in the new world, they discovered dozens of foods that were completely new to them, one of which was the tomato. Tomatoes were originally cultivated by the ancient Aztecs and Incas, and they'd been around for at least a thousand years before the European explorers began eating them.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: When tomatoes first arrived in Europe, they were known as love apples, because they looked a little like an apple and had a reputation as an aphrodisiac. The Italians, the Spanish and the Portuguese got 'em right into their cooking.  But the English, who had a kind of an iffy reputation as lovers, decided that they were poisonous and used them only as ornamental plants.  And that was true here in the colonies until the early 1800s, when the Creoles in Louisiana began to put tomatoes into their gumbos and jambalayas.  And at the same time, the sailors in Maine began to put tomatoes into their fish stews. 

Today, the most popular tomatoes in the United States come fresh from Florida.  Each year, Florida dedicates almost 35,000 acres of prime land to growing them. 

About one and a half billion pounds of tomatoes are produced and then shipped throughout the country.  Florida tomatoes grew up in a warm and sunny climate, and they like that kind of environment.  So, don't put them in your refrigerator.  Once a tomato is brought below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, it permanently loses the enzymes that create the flavor. The water inside begins to expand.  The cell walls burst, and the texture becomes mealy.  And store them stem side up.  That's the way they grew.  And like most of us, they don't enjoy standing on their heads.  I asked Rene Nyfeler, who is the executive chef at the Casa Monica, to whip up a few of his favorite dishes that use fresh Florida tomatoes.

His first dish was based on a stack of sliced tomatoes.  When you're cutting a tomato, the best tool is a serrated knife with a scalloped edge and a two pronged tip.  Serrated knives are used to cut things that are hard on the outside and soft on the inside.

The resistant skin of the tomato is cut without crushing the tender flesh that's beneath.  And the two prongs help you transfer the slices.  A slice of tomato goes onto a plate.  And a slice of mozzarella cheese.  That's followed by more tomato slices and more cheese, until the entire tomato is reassembled.    A few sprigs of basil, some oil, a little balsamic vinegar and some salt.

At the end of this program, I'll tell you how to get the recipes for all of the dishes in this series.  The second dish was orrechiette pasta with tomatoes, shrimp, mussels and scallops.  Tomato slices go onto the plate.  Then the pasta.  Croutons topped with a puree of tomatoes.  Finally, the dish is garnished with fresh herbs, a little oil and some sliced basil.

Rene's third dish was a ratatouille and grilled tomato sandwich.  Piece of toast goes onto the place, followed by a few slices of grilled tomato.  And a cup of ratatouille, which is a French vegetable stew.  A hit of sour cream, a little balsamic vinegar, a second piece of bread, and a garnish of fresh herbs.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: One thing about tomatoes that is particularly important to me is that they are high in potassium.  And potassium can help reduce high blood pressure.  About 30 percent of the US population suffers from high blood pressure, and that includes me.  Scientists are also telling us that tomatoes have a powerful antioxidant which may be a cancer blocker, and can help reduce the negative effects of aging.  It could end up that the Fountain of Youth is right smack in the middle of a Florida tomato.

The explorers found many foods that were new to them in the new world, but they also brought in foods that were new to the new world.  The Arabs introduced citrus to Spain during the 700s, and the Spanish introduced it to Florida.  Today, Florida is the nation's largest producer of citrus, accounting for more than 80 percent of the nation's annual production.  And when it comes to grapefruit, Florida is the world's leading producer, responsible for one out of every three grapefruits on the planet.

Florida is among the top agricultural states in the nation, and the leading farming state in the southeast.  But it's not just citrus.  During North America's winter months of January, February and March, Florida becomes a giant vegetable patch providing about 80 percent of the nation's fresh vegetables.

It was also the first place in the new world to raise cattle.  The Spanish brought in the first cattle and set up the first ranches during the mid-1500s.  Today, Florida is the second largest ranching state in the United States.  And when it comes to seafood, Florida fishing boats bring in their catch from the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

I asked chef Tom McGinty, who writes a monthly column for Florida Living Magazine, to cook us a recipe using as many fresh from Florida foods as he could.  He decided on a seafood gumbo.  Butter is melted in a sauté pan.  Diced onions go in, diced celery and diced green pepper. 

A little stirring and a little chopped garlic.  All that sweats together, along with the chef.  A roux is made by cooking equal parts of oil and flour together until the mixture is dark brown.  And the vegetables get mixed into the roux.  A batch of gumbo seasoning is added.

A sauce pan of fish stock is heated.  The roux and the vegetable mixture is whisked in.  Then, chopped tomato, fresh tomato sauce, hot pepper sauce, Florida grouper, scallops, shrimp, oysters and crab meat.  A taste, a slight adjustment to the seasoning, into a bowl and it's ready to garnish.  Scallions, chopped tomato, shrimp, scallops and dried thyme.

While I was in St. Augustine, I ate my way through town, and there were three places that were lots of fun.  And I suggest you don't miss 'em.  The first is just across the Bridge of Lions from downtown and it's called O’Steens.  Now, you know that this is a local favorite, because half the town seems to be sitting out front waiting for a table.  And it's worth the wait.  The every day special that's famous throughout these parts is the deep fried butterflied shrimp.  It comes with hush puppies and two sides.  My choice was home made cole slaw and pickled cucumbers.

It was a terrific sweet potato casserole. Fresh white corn and home made corn bread.  You should also try the Minorcan clam chowder.  The other spot I thought had lots of local flavor was the Spanish bakery just off Saint George Street.  For under $5, I got home made soup or gumbo, a drink, fresh bread and a cookie.

Breads, cookies and empanadas are baked right there.  We all ate outside at a picnic table.  Easy, fun, inexpensive.  My kind of place.  And first dessert, Kilwan’s.  This is where the locals go to satisfy their sweet tooth.  Caramel coated apples, 11 different kinds of fudge and freshly made waffle cones that can be filled with 36 different flavors of ice cream, but not at the same time.

Another great spot is Old St. Augustine Village.  A group of ten houses, court yards and gardens that have been restored, staffed by experts in period dress and open to the public.

Old St. Augustine Village also presents authentic period music.  Today's group is called Skin and Bonz.  Well, that's a taste of the local flavors of St. Augustine, Florida.  I hope you've enjoyed it.  And I hope you will join me next time.  I'm Burt Wolf.

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world and interviews with leading food authorities or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photographs and recipes, just visit Burt online at BURTWOLF.COM.

Local Flavors: Portland, Maine - #112

Every town in the world has a local flavor ... a flavor that comes from its signature dishes ... from a group of preferred ingredients ... or type of restaurant that is popular.  It is a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of equipment or a technique.  There are dozens of things that impact on the local flavor.  But the most important influences are always the result of geography, history, and economics.  So please join me, Burt Wolf, for a taste of the local flavors of Portland, Maine.

If you start at the most northern point on the coast of Maine and sailed directly down to the most southern point on the coast, you will have traveled about 400 miles.  But if you sailed into each bay ... through each cove ... into each harbor, past each island, and around each peninsula, you would have sailed over 3,500 miles. 

Geologists describe it as a downed coastline because thousands of years ago, the original coastline sank into the ocean and left behind what stands here today.  This is a vast and extraordinary coast.  And is the encounter between the land and the Atlantic Ocean that has controlled the destiny of Maine. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The first European to explore the area was John Cabot, who sailed through in 1497, just five years after Columbus bumped into the Bahamas.  He was an Italian and his real name was Giovanni Caboto ... but he anglicized it so he could sail for the King of England.  And it was his explorations that formed the basis for England's claim to the territory.  The largest city in Maine is Portland, and it was founded just 50 years after Giovanni sailed through.

Portland was built on a three-and-a-half mile wide peninsula and almost everything of interest to a tourist is within walking distance.  The city symbol is the phoenix ... the bird who rises from its ashes, which is perfect for Portland because it has burned down four

times.  The first two were during the Indian Wars, the third was the result of a British bombardment during the Revolution.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The fourth fire took place on the 4th of July, 1866 when a young boy accidentally threw a firecracker into a barrel of wood shavings and set a boat-yard on fire.  The fire brigade arrived, put out the fire, and then went across the street to drink, celebrate the 4th of July, and their success at putting out the fire.  Unfortunately, a number of cinders had drifted across the street and the Portland Sugar Works burst into flame ... taking the rest of the town with it, proving two things ... the Bible was right when it said "Pride goeth before destruction" and Yogi Berra was once again on the ball when he said, "It ain't over till it's over." 

After the fire of 1866, a law was passed that prohibited the construction of wooden buildings which resulted in the beautiful brick-and-granite structures that make up the center of the city.  The old cobblestone streets are lined with shops.  Portmanteau hand makes canvas zipper totes, purses and briefcases.  And you can see them being made in the shop.  Edgecomb Potters sells designer jewelry, fine glass, and glazed porcelain.  Northern Sky Toyz specializes in non-battery operated toys, yo-yos and stunt kites.  The staff encourages you to play before you pay. 

There's a state law requiring all cars to stop for pedestrians, which makes the town even more walkable.  Your walk should include a stroll around the Eastern Promenade, which has the best views of the surrounding waters.  Beautiful homes that date back over a 100 years look out on Casco Bay, the protective islands, and the lobster boats that go in and out almost everyday throughout the year.  These days the Maine lobster business is a big deal…with an annual value of almost $200 million.  But until the middle of the 20th century, lobsters were just contemptible crustaceans.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  I once read a letter written in the 1700s by an Englishman expressing his compassion for the enormous amount of lobster the people of Maine had to eat.  It was all over the place.  They’d just wash up on the shore ... became the most inexpensive source of protein.  Servants who worked under contract in Maine, insisted in the agreement, that they wouldn't be served lobster more than twice a week.  And farmers, who lived near the shore, would actually use lobster as fertilizer. 

A lobster must be cooked while it's still alive.  It was very difficult to ship a live lobster to market.  So the lobsters were stuck here in Maine.  But when we developed forms of transportation that could ship live lobsters all over the world, they immediately clawed their way onto the best menus. 

Tom Martin is a Maine lobsterman.  And his boat is a 37-foot long commercial fishing vessel named The Lucky Catch. 

TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA:  I started when I was 14.  My next-door neighbor was a commercial lobsterman and I started working with him in the summertime, and it was just a habit I couldn't break. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: It's wonderful to be out on your own. 

TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: It's a beautiful place to spend time. 

From November through April, Tom uses her to harvest lobster.  But during the summer months, Captain Tom runs tours for people who want to learn about the life of a lobsterman.TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: We're leave at 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning ... we're usually out all day.  This time of year, November, we're using haul traps until it gets dark. BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Every lobsterman has a colored-coded buoy to distinguish his traps from everyone else's.  There are no locks or other security systems on the traps, just the traditional honesty of the Maine lobstermen. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Quick, get the butter! 

TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: These are very old-fashioned wooden traps called half-rounds.  Very seldom are these used anymore for anything besides a coffee table or a lawn ornament.  There, we're going to go in ... we're going to pull our first lobster out here and we're going to measure him across his back from the behind his eye socket down here to the end of his back  that's called his carapace.  It has to be at least three-and-one-quarter inches long.  On the metal gauge, the short side of the gauge, from this point to that point ...


TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: ... is exactly ... three-and-a-quarter. 


TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: So all we do is we touch it right behind his eye


TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: ... lay it down on his back. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: It's over three inches.

TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: Over three-and-a-quarter inches ...


TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: ... we have a winner.


Lobstering is one of the oldest industries in the state and supports a way of life for thousands of families in Maine.  All lobster harvesters play a role in sustaining Maine's most important Marine resource.  They support Maine's laws that have historically protected the lobsters in the Gulf of Maine.  They are into sound resource management. 

TOM MARTIN ON CAMERA: Now this lobster's gonna have to go back in. 

Directly across the road from the docks is Fore Street, which was the original waterfront until the railroad filled in the land and pushed the docks back a few hundred yards so they could put their tracks next to the boats.  Today Fore Street is one of the hip hills in town and home to the Fourth Street Restaurant. 

The chef and owner is Sam Hayward and today he's making a fish stew.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA:  Now I'll cut the fish into the right-size pieces for cooking in the broth.  I'm going to cut the monk fish

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Sam is using black fish, wolf fish, monk fish, squid, oysters ... butter clams and scallops. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I notice some of the fish you have the skin on and some you don't. 

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: That's a good question.  A lot of the flavor of the fish is in the membranes directly under the skin, and in some cases the membranes that surround the bones.  I prefer to leave the skin on for that reason whenever I can or whenever the public will tolerate it.  So what I've first done in some instances, such as the Tautog is remove the scales before I cut the filets.  I'm trying to cut the fish into size pieces, taking into consideration their different cooking characteristics so that they'll be all be done at exactly the same time. 


SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: Okay, now I'm ... let's just bring this over.  What I'm going to do is put a little olive oil in the bottom of the cazuela…

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: These are big deal in Spanish and Latin American cooking.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA:  That's right. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  They are great for long, slow dishes. 

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: We use them here for a variety of things ... everything from cassoulet, whose name is similar, of course, to seafood uh braises ... lamb shanks, long-simmered meat dishes of different kinds.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The pot holds its heat.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: It's a beautiful thing.  And it actually works in this oven.  It can take the intense heat of this oven. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: It's good for both in the oven and on top of the stove.  And glazed on the inside, and this one's glazed on the outside, too.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: I have some at home that are not glazed on the outside.  What's interesting about those is they began to take up the aroma of everything you've ever cooked in them, and it becomes a kind of complex flavoring device of its own.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: In defense of the outside glaze, it makes it dishwasher safe.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: You pays your money and you takes your choice.  So all of the fish just goes in right on top of the oil.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: Exactly.  And I'll put the shellfish in on top ... as they open up, they'll release some of their juices into the rest of the seafood. 

The seafood is seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme, flat-leaf parsley and chervil.  Then finally a broth made from fish stock and vegetables is spooned on to the seafood until the seafood is almost submerged.  And into the oven uncovered for five minutes to let the heat get to the top of the ingredients.  At which point, the cover of the cazuela goes on and everything cooks for 15 minutes more.  If you would like the recipes for this program, and all the other recipes in this series, I'll tell you how to get them at the end of the program.  Sam makes a great effort to highlight foods that are produced in Maine and so does the local public market. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: During the late 1800s, almost every town in America had a public market.  It was the center for the community, a place where people came together to talk to buy  and to sell foods.  But by the 1940s large supermarket chains began to swallow up the independent distributors of food.  And very soon, almost all of our public markets disappeared. 

But over the last 20 years, public markets have been making a comeback.  Inspired by Seattle's Pike Place, an attorney named Owen Wells advised his friend and client, the late philanthropist, Elizabeth Noyce, to donate $10 million to construct a 37,000-square-foot building to house their vision of a public market, a market that is primarily devoted to foods that are farmed, raised or produced in Maine. 

Sam Hayward took a break from cooking at Fore Street ... to show me around the market. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Valley View Farms.  I read about these guys.  It was an orchard.  They were just about to go bankrupt, and they figured out that if they took their apples and made them into pies, they could sell them for enough money to stay in business.  Value-added.  I like that.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: Yankee ingenuity. 

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: And you'll notice they also have wild Maine blueberries as an ingredient in some of these pies.


SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: Wolves Neck ... this is in Freeport, Maine, a terrific farm that raises all natural beef but they also market here in their stand natural pork that comes from farms in Aroostook County and lamb that actually is raised on islands in Penobscot Bay, just a few miles farther down east from here.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: The wonderful thing about this lamb and beef and pork is that there are absolutely no hormones or antibiotics that are used.  The lamb is completely natural.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Get real, get Maine?

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: This is a program by our Agriculture Department to spotlight Maine's terrific produce, and it's especially important during Indian Summer season like right now when so many great root crops are coming out.  And now we're at the apple section of the Maine harvest vendor.  Apples are really important in Maine.  The two dominant varieties tend to be Macintosh and Portland because they're frost-hardy and are harvested very early, and are good sweet eating out of hand.  Occasionally you'll find a coupe of other varieties, heirlooms like Baldwins and Pippins.  Apples are very important in Maine.  They've been grown in New England since 1629.

SAM HAYWARD ON CAMERA: And apples important in families because they could be stored in a cellar all winter and most household a century ago would have had a barrel of cider gently fermenting until Christmas time.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: A little apple cider, my dear?

Portland claims to have more restaurants per capita than any other city in the United States after San Francisco.  And many of them are very good.  Our favorite lunch spot was Walter's Cafe on Exchange Street, in the heart of the old Port.  Excellent local micro-brews.  We all kept coming back to the pan-fried Maine clam cakes and the Carolina barbecued pork sandwich.  Some of the best cooking I've tasted anywhere came out of the simple kitchen at the Back Bay Grill.  Joel Freund graduated from the Maine School of Law and immediately decided that he preferred a sauce to a summons.  His restaurant is a favorite spot for serious eaters.  The chef is Larry Matthews and the sous chef is Gordon Cameron.  And their work is superb and consistent.  They bake their own bread and time it so it comes out of the oven as dinner is served.  We started with a terrine of house-cured gravlax and spruce point smoked salmon with marinated red onions, chive creme fraiche and a basket of homemade potato chips. 

The main course was Maine lobster ... on Savoy cabbage, with red curry squash dumplings, and lobster, butter and chive oil.  For dessert, a peach poached in Riesling wine with homemade peach swirl ice cream. 

I didn't finish my wine and Joel was kind enough to point out that there's a state law that allows restaurant diners to bring home an unfinished bottle of wine at the end of the meal.  Waste not, want not.  I love this state. 

I'd also suggest a visit to Q’s Ice Cream.  Ideally not on the same day you're eating in the Back Bay Grill.  Two hundred different flavors all made on the premises, without chemical preservatives or artificial coloring.  Everybody loved the brownie sundae.  There was one place that almost everyone told us we had to visit.  And that was the Standard Baking Company.  The standards at the Standard Baking Company are set by Alison Pray and Matt James.  And fortunately, everything about their work is above standard.  They make all types of breads from baguette to brioche but they also make some excellent pastries.  And every morning, dozens of people stop in for Standard's honey buns and cranberry scones. 

I asked Allison to show us how the scones were made.

ALISON PRAY ON CAMERA:  Whisk it all together and make sure it's well combined.

The dry ingredients,  flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt are whisked together.  

ALISON PRAY ON CAMERA: Our next step is to add cold butter and we'll just break this in with our fingertips quickly so that the butter doesn't melt.  And we'll continue working the butter in until the largest pieces are pea-sized.

Plain yogurt goes into a mixer followed by cranberries.  Next to wild berries, cranberries are one of the few fruits native to North America.  And Maine produces some of the world's best cranberries.  That's mixed together for a moment, then the dry ingredients with the butter goes in and everything gets mixed to become a dough. 

ALISON PRAY ON CAMERA: You don't need a mixer for this.  You could definitely do it by hand. 

The dough is pressed out into a seven-by-seven square and then sliced into eight triangles.  Allison handles the dough with a bench scraper, which is a standard piece of equipment in a baker's kitchen.  It has a simple shape but it cuts, kneads, lifts, and scrapes dough on the baker's work surface.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The key to a good bench scraper is strength and comfort.  You want it to be made of stainless steel.  You want it to be slightly flexible so it will slide under the dough and you want the grip to be rounded so it's comfortable in your hand. 

They're dusted with Turninado sugar, which is coarser than a white sugar and darker, because molasses is added during the manufacturing process.  At this point they go on to a perforated baking sheet, which is basically a non-stick jelly roll pan, with a surface that is covered with teeny holes.  The perfect for formed dough is like buns, rolls and scones where you want the oven's heat to come in direct contact with the bottom of whatever is baking.  And into a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And here's a good timer.  It's made by Polder.  It counts in hours, minutes and seconds.  It also acts as a clock.  It has a string so you can hang it around your neck and take it wherever you want.  It also has a magnet on the back so you can connect it to a metal surface.  And once it rings, it starts to count up ... so you'll know how late you are.  I'm late. 

Traditionally, scones are eaten with a dollop of jam. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Jams and jellies are a big business.  Each year Americans spend about a billion dollars on them.  Most of that money goes through giant supermarkets to giant manufacturers.  But alongside the giants, there are a number of small companies that usually started in somebody's kitchen and built themselves into a real business.  A perfect example  Stonewall Kitchen.

JONATHAN KING ON CAMERA: Stonewall Kitchens began in 1991 at a local farmer’s market on the seacoast of Maine and New Hampshire.  My partner, Jim, and I started out of our combined passions of horticulture and cuisine.  We were making these beautiful products these homemade jams, mustards, sauces, pickles, relishes, and we took them to the open air farmer's market, used a card table.  Got a local association ... the Growers Association certificate to sell these to the public.  We put our products out and our customers came and they sampled them, and that first day, we made about $250 and we high-fived ourselves all the way home.

JIM STOTT ON CAMERA: Oh, at farmer’s market, everybody has very elaborate tents and market umbrellas, and it was very fancy.  But we didn't have the money for that so we borrowed Jonathan's dad's golf umbrella and as customers would come up to shop on a rainy day, we'd hold the umbrella over them and follow them down.  It gave us a chance to also interact with them and sway them into what we needed to get rid of that day. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: They chose the name Stonewall because Stonewalls are part of the main landscape and because they're held together by design.  They don't use mortar.  And they felt that was symbolic of their company where their products are held together without additives or preservatives.  I love America.  No matter how big a company is and how it dominates an industry, there's always room for a couple of guys to come along and take a slice of the pie. 

While we were visiting Portland, we stayed on the Cape Elizabeth headlands at The Inn by The Sea, which was a lot like living in a Winslow Homer painting.  The Inn faces out on one of Maine's finest sand beaches.  Between the beach and the hotel grounds are a couple of hundred yards of perfect unspoiled marshlands with a private boardwalk along the edge.  The Zagat survey has chosen it as one of America's top hotels and "Country Inns Magazine" has put it on its top ten list.  And I'm adding it to my own list of favorite places.  It only has 43 units which gives it a very homey feeling. 

Each unit is a suite.  There are fireplaces and little kitchens, and balconies with views of the sea.  The uncluttered decor was inspired by the works of John Jay Audubon, the artist and author of "The Birds of America," the definitive book on the subject. 

Twenty of his original engravings hang on the walls of the hotel's public rooms.  The dining room at the Inn is called the Audubon Room.  But in addition to its bird dishes, it also serves beef, game, seafood and some wonderful desserts.  The kitchen prepares a wide range of foods, but there were four dishes that I found particularly interesting.  Char-grilled New York sirloin strip with pan-fried potatoes and summer vegetables.  Knockwurst dogs with caramelized onion roll, and grilled free-range chicken with brown gravy.  And a special for me ... veal roulade with lobster and Roquefort cheese, which was prepared by the executive chef, Jeff Austin. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And each of the dishes was highly rated by my dinner companions who introduced me to the hotel's pet menu.  What are you guys having?  Hey, Tag, dig in.  Boy. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Try not to wolf down your meal.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Didn't we meet in Paris?  Ah, you know, this is great cooking.  No bones about it.  Est-ce vous parlez francais?  Oui, no?

Can we get you a tequila? 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And you're not a vegetarian.  I hate that.  Yes, you came back for your last snack.  Waiter.  Who else takes you to dinner like I take you to dinner?  I take you to the best places. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: You know, there's an old saying in television ... never work with children or dogs.  Don't feel bad if you can't finish everything.  We'll just put it in a doggie bag. 

They also provide dog beds, dog dishes, oversized towels, dog tags, dog leaves, dog blankets ... and dog treats. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Well, that's a brief taste of the local flavors of Portland, Maine.  I hope you've enjoyed it and I hope you will join me next time.  I'm Burt Wolf.  And I'm moving out.

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world and interviews with leading food authorities or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photographs and recipes, just visit Burt online at BURTWOLF.COM.

Local Flavors: Sweets of Chicago - #111

Every town in the world has a local flavor; a flavor that comes from its signature dishes, from a group of preferred ingredients, or a type of restaurant that is popular.  It is a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of equipment or a technique.  There are dozens of things that impact on the local flavor.  But the most important influences are always the result of geography, history and economics.  We are born loving the sweet taste of sugar.  It is a craving that comes down to us through evolution, and is reinforced by the sweetness of mother's milk.  Sugar is an extremely concentrated source of energy, and energy is essential for survival.  Very early in human history, we learn that foods that were sweet were life sustaining.  These days the sweetest things we eat are candies.  And the most important city for candy making in America is Chicago.  It's the place to get a telescopic view of the Milky Way and Mars, or find out who Tootsie really was and what made her roll.  So please join me, Burt Wolf, for taste of the local flavors of Sweet Chicago.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The first candy bars made in America were made in Boston, New York and Philadelphia.  But by the early years of the 20th century, America's great sweet tooth had moved to Chicago.  The reason was very simple; it was an easy place to get corn syrup, dairy products, real estate was relatively inexpensive, and there was a great pool of intelligent and devoted labor.  But the event that really changed America's sweet tooth into a full bridge and an upper plate was the first world war.

The U.S. Army ordered American candy manufacturers to produce bars that weighed 20 to 40 pounds.  They were shipped to Europe and then cut into smaller pieces at the front.  Eventually the job of making the candy in smaller pieces was assigned back to the manufacturers.  By the end of the war, candy bars were a regular part of the American diet.  And over 40,000 different candy bars were being produced.  These days, the candy business in the United States is estimated at over $20 billion.  And that's nothing to snicker at, especially in Chicago where the M&M Mars Candy Company makes Snickers.  Snickers is America's number one selling candy bar and it produces almost $1 billion of annual sales, which really satisfies.  It's made from a nugget base, topped with a mixture of caramel and peanut, which is then enrobed with milk chocolate.

BURT WOLFON CAMERA: The Snickers bar was developed by Frank Mars.  And the original version was not chocolate coated.  Frank believed that by combining the food textures found in nature, his candy bar would satisfy hunger.  Nice try.  But his customers soon told him that chocolate coated hunger satisfaction was much better.

In terms of hunger, Frank's claim to fame was not limited to the Snicker's bar.  During the 1920s malted milk drinks were very popular.  So he developed a candy that felt like a portable milk shake, and he called it a Milky Way.  It's made from chocolate, caramel and nugget.  Similar in ingredients to a Snickers but without the nuts.  He also believed that there was an ideal shape and size for each bar and based his designs on the ratios used by the ancient Greek and Egyptian architects.  And like those venerable mathematicians, Frank Mars looked to the heavens for guidance, with a particular interest in Mars, the Milky Way and Star Bursts.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Chicago is also the home of the Tootsie Roll which was the first penny candy to be wrapped in paper.  In 1896 Leo Herschfeld immigrated to the United States from Austria, opened a little shop and began to make candy from a secret formula.  He named that candy after his daughter Clara, whose nickname was Roll.  Tootsie. 

These days, the president of the company is Ellen Gordon.  She showed me how Tootsie Rolls are made.  They start out from a base which is primarily sugar, corn syrup, soy bean oil, skim milk, and cocoa.  That mixture is heated, cooled, thinned out, rolled, cut and wrapped.  Over 60 million Tootsie Rolls are made each day.  Tootsie Rolls also come in the form of a Tootsie Pop, which was the first soft-centered lollipop.  The hard candy outside starts as a hot strip of sugar and water.  As it cools, it's formed around a cone.  Tootsie Roll mix is fed into the center of the cone.  A unique machine turns some of the sugar candy around to form a ball over the Tootsie, and then pops in a stick.  And over the years, it's become apparent that most Tootsie Pop lovers want to get through the hard candy outside and into the Tootsie as fast as possible.  And so the company began to reduce the thickness of the coating.  And how many licks it takes to get through to the center appears to be a question of universal concern, which the company has answered in a half dozen languages.  Polish is my favorite.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: This company represents the sweet dreams of my youth.  Not only do they make Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops, but they make Dots and Crows and Sugar Daddys and Sugar Babies and Charleston Chew and Junior Mints.  This is what I used to eat when I went to the movies.  As a matter-of-fact, I went to the movies to eat candy.  I thought the movies were something that the candy guys threw in to keep me quiet while I was eating.

Candies can be divided into three categories; chocolate, hard, and soft.  In general, hard candy and soft candies have similar ingredients; water, sugar, and flavoring.  And if the candy turns out to be soft or hard is a function of how much heat is applied to the mixture.  The higher the heat, the harder the candy.  Chicago is home to the largest maker of non-chocolate candies in the United States.  The company is called Brachs, and it was started in 1904 by Emil O. Brach.  They make 300 different candies including Peppermint Starlight Mints, and they are masters at the mixing of jelly beans.  I learned that almost all jelly beans start out with the same based mixture in the center.  The specific flavor comes only from the coating.  When it comes to most jelly beans, flavor is only skin deep.

For a taste of old fashioned handmade chocolate and ice cream, stop into Margie's Candies.  It opened in 1921 and very little has changed.  It's a Chicago classic.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  Let me show you what's going on here. Ice cream, whipped cream, caramel sauce, sugar wafers.  Now those represent the four major food groups of my childhood.  Tastes great together.

Like many cities in the United States, Chicago's love of sweets includes a group of specialty bakers.  And one of the most famous is Eli's who's been baking cheesecake since 1977.  Chicago is the largest cheesecake market in the country.  And Eli's is the largest specialty cheesecake bakery, turning out 16,000 cakes each day.  Mark Schulman, an attorney who gave up suing for sifting, is the president of the company.  The plant's daily tours are a top attraction.  Each day the company goes through 15,000 pounds of cream cheese, 4,000 pounds of sugar, 265,000 fresh eggs, 5,000 pounds of sour cream, and 200 pounds of Madagascar vanilla.  All cheesecakes are based on the simple process of sweetening fresh cheese curds and baking the mixture.  And that's what Eli does with over 75 different recipes, including ones based on Heath Bars, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, and Key Limes.  But the best seller is still the original plain.  They have a dessert cafe in which they offer a series of creations based on cheesecake.  A Dipper is a slice of cheesecake that's frozen onto a stick, dipped in chocolate, and coated with the topping of your choice.  A Smush is cheesecake and ice cream smushed together.  And finally, shakes made from cheesecake and ice cream.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  Cheesecake is one of our earliest baked goods.  Historians tells us that the ancient Greeks took goat cheese and sheep cheese, sweetened it with honey and made a cheesecake that was fed to the athletes at the first Olympics which took place in 776 BC. 

Much of the food in Chicago is based on the cooking found in the ethnic neighborhoods.  A perfect example is The Swedish bakery in Andersonville.  It opened in 1928 and continues to bake the breads, cakes and pastries that were dear to its founder.  A neighborhood favorite is the Andersonville Coffee Cake.  It's a light cardamom yeast cake with a topping of almonds.  Alfonso Aguilar is going to teach us the recipe.  He starts by measuring the ingredients for the cardamom dough and placing them into a mixer.  Sugar, salt, cardamom, butter, margarine, powdered milk, flour.  Now that the dry ingredients have been weighed in, it's time to add the eggs, cold water and yeast.  That's the base for the dough, and it's mixed together for about 20 minutes.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Most bakers measure by weight.  It's much more precise than measuring by volume.  Alfonso was using a balance scale, but you could also use an electronic scale. If you're picking out an electronic scale, here's what to look for.

The large surface area to hold the bowl you are weighing the ingredients in, an easy-to-read display, the ability to convert from metric to American, a generous capacity, and a tare function that allows you to reset the scale to zero while ingredients are in the bowl on the tray.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  It should be easy to story and easy to clean.  My favorite is The Salter's Baker's Dream.  It has an interesting feature.  If it displays zero for one minute, it turns off automatically.  Or if the weight hasn't changed for five minutes, it turns off automatically.  Saves your battery.  It's a good design.

At home you would use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to about a quarter inch thickness.  But here at the bakery he uses an amazing piece of equipment called a sheeter.  You throw the dough in at one end, and it comes out completely rolled at the other.  A mixture of almond paste, sugar, butter and margarine is spread out on the dough.  Then the dough is rolled into a log shape.


He's way ahead of his previous record.  And that's it, and it's closed.  Hands up!

A 12-inch cake pan is brushed with melted butter, and then the dough goes in and is formed into a ring.  Alfonso leaves about one inch between the dough and the cake pan so the cake can expand.  The dough is then cut to create a braided look.  Alfonso uses a kitchen shears to cut the braid into the dough.  Basically a kitchen shears is simply two knives that are joined in the middle.  And every kitchen should have a good pair.  The best ones are produced by the best knife companies.  They should be made of high carbon stainless steel with a good edge that can be sharpened just like a knife.  One blade should have a straight edge, and the other should be finely serrated.  Every part of it should be dishwasher safe. 

At this point, the cake is brushed with an egg wash and left to proof for 20 minutes.  The dough is topped with a mixture of chopped almonds and sugar, then it's into a 350-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes.  Then it's out of the oven and into your mouth.

I'll tell you how to get the recipes for the dishes in this program and all the other programs in this series at the end of the show.

The great bakers that came to Chicago with the large German immigration of the 1800s and early 1900s are represented by Dinkel’s which opened in 1922.  It was opened by Joseph Dinkel of Dinkelsvule in Southern Bavaria.  They're famous for their sweet German Christmas bread which is called a Stolen.  And if you are interested in tasting a perfect doughnut, the way they tasted before they were mass produced by national chains, this is the place.

Another fine German bakery,  Schmeissing’s.  It was opened in 1934 by Gene Schmeissing who came here from Castle, German.  Good breads, fine fruit tarts, and a turtle cookie made with a sweet cookie dough base covered with nuts, topped with caramel and crowned with chocolate.  The baker calls them a turtle.  But I think they should be called a tortoise, because one bite taught us to love them.

In addition to being a center for candy manufacturers and bakers, Chicago's sweet dreams include the create visions of some of the country's most talented dessert chefs.  Gale Gand practices her art in a restaurant called Tru.  The recipe she's going to teach me today is a maple glazed angel food cake.

GALE GAND: We started with egg whites, okay.  We're going to mix those in the mixer with a whip attachment.  We're trying to get air into these.  To help them get a little bit of air, I add cream of tartar and salt.  And then just set it mixing.  I want to get as much air as possible in there.  I gradually add the sugar in.  You want to continue mixing until the sugar dissolves.  It takes about 30 seconds.  And it's very glossy, very, very stiff.  We're going to sift together cake flour and a little bit of sugar that I've held off.  And usually what I do is sift it three times.  All right, just ... make sure you've gotten as much going as possible, turn the mixer up.  See how nice and fluffy and you're seeing the trails of the whip attachment.  That's perfect.  That's what you're looking for.  So now, we have to fold.  One of my very favorite things to do.  And I need your help.  I'm going to need you to add this flour gradually.  You're going to kind of drizzle it in.  You know how to do that.  This was a cake that ... I make this for my dad he's a marathon runner, so he's into no-fat and that's one of the nice things about this cake; it's no fat.  Last thing we're going to add is the maple.  This is actually the maple syrup and some vanilla.  You're going to put half in and fold.  And this cake has maple in it, and then it's going to get maple on it.

When you're baking a heavy batter like a pound cake or you're making a cake that needs to be heated all the way through quickly, like an angel food cake, the best pan for the job, and maybe the only pan that would do the job properly is one with a tube in the center.  And the reasoning is very simple.  With those kinds of cakes in a non-tube pan, the outside would burn before the inside was cooked.  Tube brings the heat to the center so everything cooks evenly.

GALE GAND: So this is going to go in the oven.  Bake it 'til it's firm; about 30 minutes.  And let me show you one I did earlier.  It's still hot.  Now this is the fun stuff.  Take it out of the oven, because of gravity, the cake wants to deflate that way.  What we do instead, what I do is, I put it on a bottle to cool.  So you put it upside down, right?  On a bottle, like that, and let it cool that way.  So that it doesn't deflate in the pan.  So once it's cool, what I do is take either a butter knife or the backside of a knife and cut around the cake.  You don't want sharp because you want to leave as many crumbs in the pan as possible.  So just kind of go around the outside with the backside of a knife.  There I go.  Okay.  Now, we're going to turn it out onto a serving platter.  We're going to hope it comes out.

BURT WOLF: It's going to come out.

GALE GAND: Do you have the turning things out of the pan prayer ready to go?


WOMAN: Okay.  Ready?  This is actually a nice pan because it’s got a removable ... there you go.  Ready? 

BURT WOLF: Boy, does that smell good.

GALE GAND: Take this off.  Now we have to make the glaze.  It’s just some maple syrup.  Now just whisk in confectioners’ sugar. We’re just going to spoon this glaze over the cake and then you want to let it set up about 30 minutes.  I sort of stayed near the edge so some is on top, but some starts to go down the sides to make sure you get that real oozy, drippy, yeah.

BURT WOLF: I like that.

GALE GAND: I don't know anybody that doesn't like that.  I like drippy.


While I was analyzing Chicago's sweet dreams, I stayed at The House of Blues Hotel which is a Loews Hotel.  Interior decoration is a mixture of gothic, Moroccan, East Indian, Uptown, Downtown, Across town and high-tech.  In the same way that The Blues Brothers film took a relaxed approach to Chicago, House of Blues Hotel takes a relaxed approached to the somewhat staid manner you find in most hotels.  When you check in, you get a CD of Blues Rocker, R&B.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: The elevators run at a perfectly normal speed.  But just to make sure you don't get bored while you're waiting, they have placed a television set into the wall next to the doors.  Unfortunately, the other day somebody changed the station from CNN to an old Marilyn Monroe movie.  And I was two hours late for my appointment.  But I was in a good mood and mood is very much what this hotel is all about.

Instead of having a sign that reads "Please Do Not Disturb," the sign at the House of Blues reads "Don't Bother Me," which is, of course, what many of us are really thinking when we hang out that sign. 

Or if you want to be bothered, or bother someone else, each room has a sophisticated communications system.  Two telephone lines, a fax machine with a data port, and high-speed Internet access.  And if you want to be entertained, there's a television with a cassette player and a music system with a CD player.  The hotel has a special interest in accommodating business travelers.  The 14th floor has an executive lounge that provides a continental breakfast.  Rooms on that floor also offer a high-speed T-1 for your computer. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And if you're in the mood to lounge around, you can lounge in the Kaz Bar, which is the hotel's Moroccan-style lobby lounge.

The hotel has a special deal with the Crunch Gym which is on the bottom floor of the building. 

COACH: Way to go!  Way to go!

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I was particularly interested in the attention they pay to grandparents.  You show up with a grandchild, you get a kit which includes, among other things, a disposable camera, an album to put the photographs in, a telephone card to call home for help, and a tip sheet on how to be a good grandparent.  The only thing I'd add to the tip sheet is um, based on my own experience, it's quite helpful to read your grandchildren the portion of your will in which they receive a great deal of money.  I'd also include ear plugs.  I always take my ear plugs when I go to visit my grandson Max.

There's also a state-of-the-art AMF bowling center in the hotel's building.


Directly across the courtyard from the hotel's entrance, is the House of Blues Restaurant and Music Hall.  Every Sunday they hold a gospel brunch.  The buffet is basically Southern food and it's an all-you-can-eat service.  About 25 different dishes including jambalaya, sweet potato hash, barbecued chicken, buttermilk biscuits, and bread pudding with a bourbon sauce.  The interior space is based on an old opera house of Prague with three tiers of Baroque balconies.  But the decorations are based on African American folk art.

Each week a different gospel choir comes to The House of Blues and gives everyone an opportunity to praise the Lord and pass the biscuits.  Today's group is Andre Patterson and the Shop Choir.  Andre used to be a hairdresser and he needed money to buy more chairs for his shop.  He brought together some of his clients and fellow hairdressers and formed a gospel group to raise the money.

Well, that's a look at the sweet soul of Chicago.  I hope you've enjoyed seeing it and that you will join me next time on Local Flavors.  I'm Burt Wolf.

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world and interviews with leading food authorities or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photographs and recipes, just visit Burt online at BURTWOLF.COM.

Local Flavors: Chicago - #110

Every town in the world has a local flavor.  A flavor that comes from its signature dishes, from a group of preferred ingredients, or a type of restaurant that is popular.  There is a flavor that comes from appreciating a particular piece of equipment or a technique.  There's dozens of things that impact on the local flavor, but the most important influences are always the result of geography, history and economics.  So, please join me, Burt Wolf, for a taste of the local flavors of Chicago. The origin of Chicago's importance lies in its location.  To the north and east are the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway that runs out to the Atlantic Ocean.  To the south is a network of rivers that flow into the Mississippi and down into the Gulf of Mexico.  Chicago is a control point between these two waterways.  And for thousands of years, people have been using this spot as a central trading post. BURT WOLF ON CAMERA:  As the United States moved west, Chicago became a commercial center.  And in 1825, when the Erie Canal opened, Chicago found itself with a direct water route to New York City, and shipping prices that had dropped by 90 percent.  Everybody who grew or manufactured something in the Midwest brought it to Chicago for sale, especially the guys who were raising pork and cattle. Each year, millions of steaks pass through this town, and some of the best of those steaks ended up in the kitchens of some of the town's best restaurants.

These days, one of the most popular steak restaurants in Chicago is Wildfire.  It's a steak and chop house with a 1930s, '40s look.  The walls are covered with period photographs, and there's a dramatic open kitchen.  Their signature steak is a horseradish crusted filet mignon.  The chef, Joe Decker, starts by putting a pound of sweet butter in a stand mixer, and creams it for about eight minutes, until it's light and fluffy.  A half cup of freshly grated horseradish and a half cup of prepared horseradish go into the creamed butter.  A little salt, pepper and two cups of Japanese bread crumbs.  The Japanese or Panko bread crumbs are lighter and fluffier than regular crumbs. 

When the ingredients are fully blended, the mixture is turned out onto a piece of parchment paper.  This is clearly a four handed job... spread out and rolled into a log.  The ends of the paper are twisted to hold in the mixture.  And into a refrigerator for an hour or so ... till it's hardened to the point where it can be sliced into rounds.  Any of the flavored butter that's not being used, can go into the freezer for next time.  A ten ounce filet that's been seasoned with salt and pepper is seared for two minutes on each side.  Then it comes off the grill and rests for five minutes.  When it's cool enough to touch, a strip of bacon is wrapped around the filet and held in place with a skewer.  Then back onto the grill until the meat is cooked the way you like it.  Out for a minute, the horseradish crust goes on, then back onto the grill for 30 seconds, and you're ready to plate.

A round of garlic toast goes onto the plate, the steak, a little juice from the meat, parsley and a steak knife.  It's served with Parmesan crusted creamed spinach and a barbecue rubbed sweet potato.  A great drink to have with this meal is a flight of four beers that are served together on a long coaster that tells you what you're drinking.  You can choose between two flights.  Flight one contains lagers and light ales, including Chicago's most popular microbrew.  Goose Island Honker's Ale.  Flight two contains fuller, darker ales, including Wildfire's Blonde Ale and Black Jack Porter.  The nice thing about both of these flights is they arrive on time.  And for dessert, apple raspberry skillet pie with a cream cheese crust served with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

I'll tell you how to get the recipes for the dishes in this program and all the other programs in this series at the end of this show.  The kitchen is a place where you need as much protection as you can get.  Fortunately, Chicago is the home town of the Magid Company, specialists in protective gloves and aprons.  And Mike Stevens came by to explain the state of the art.  What have we got here?

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: We have a variety of industrial grade products that we think make a lot of sense for home applications.  This, for example, is a leather heat mitten that can be used both in your kitchen to take something out of the oven, around your barbecue grill on the deck, or it could be used in your fireplace. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Extraordinary.

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: This is another heat product.  Not as much protection as a leather or a wool lined product.  This is called a baker's pad.  This is what they use when you want to have extra protection on the palm of your hand at a specific time, whether you're baking, or when you want to do something besides lift the product of the oven. And you've got your hands free for other functions.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Let me try that.  So, it just slips on over your wrist.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: When you want to use it, grab something ... you grab it that way.  Then when you're not using it, it flips away.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And it becomes an elegant piece of jewelry.

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: Gorgeous.  This is a metal chain mail glove.  This is extremely cut resistant.  This, for example, I can take a high quality knife with a very sharp edge, and just put a tremendous amount of pressure as I try to cut my fingers off.  This has its roots in the medieval days with uh, chain mail.

BURT WOLF CAMERA: Oh, the knights.  Right.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: This is the Sir Lancelot model.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I recognize it.

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: Exactly.  Exactly. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I'm going to do this a little bit more slowly than you did.

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: You don't trust me, Burt?

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: I trust you, but I just ... okay.   Scary but true.  Wow. 

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: An excellent product to use for something like shucking oysters or filleting fish, where you have a very, very sharp knife.


MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: This is another cut resistant product.  This is Dupont's Kevlar material.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Oh, they use that to make bullet proof vests.

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: Bullet proof vests, for tire cord.  Things like that.  That's extremely cut resistant.  Not as much so as the metal, but it's the perfect product to have around the home and to pick up a broken glass, jar, something like that.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Broken glass.  Interesting.

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: The PVC dots give you a nice grip, so you don't have to worry about it slipping.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Those are PVC?  Plastic?


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Why is it on the front and the back?

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: Makes it reversible, so you can use it for either hand.


MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: You don't necessarily have to have a pair of gloves for every application.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: So one hand has the knife or the problem.


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: And the other one, you have the glove on.

MIKE STEVENS ON CAMERA: But this product is ... is lightweight enough, you could handle a knife very easily, as well.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Stuff that's both fashionable and functional.  That's what I like in my kitchen.

As Chicago became more and more important, its business men and women made more and more money.  And often, when you have money, you learn to buy the best, which is why some of the country's best chefs are in Chicago.  Perfect example is Charlie Trotter.  Instead of going to trade school, he apprenticed at some of the world's great restaurants, read every cook book he could get his hands on (Loud background conversation), and learned his craft on the job.

CHARLIE TROTTER ON CAMERA: Let's go from the top.

His restaurant is considered to be one of the finest restaurants in the world.  His food comes from a blending of French technique, American creativity, Asian minimalism and the finest ingredients.  Over 90 purveyors provide him with foods produced to his specifications. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: As part of his desire to give back to the community that supports him, each week, Charlie invites a group of high school students to come in, have dinner and learn about the realities of the restaurant business.  His objective is to teach them that with perseverance and focus, anything is possible.  Maybe even a reservation on a Saturday night in his restaurant.

CHARLIE TROTTER ON CAMERA: Folks, are we ready to begin?


MAN: Absolutely.

CHARLIE TROTTER ON CAMERA: Great, great.  We have a little something I think that'll be fun to kind of get your juices going. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: During the second half of the 1800s, Chicago's industrial growth required a larger labor force.  Thousands of African Americans came up from the south.  But the city also encouraged immigration from Europe.  During those years, tens of thousands of Germans, Poles and Greeks arrived in this city.  They moved into their own individual neighborhoods and opened up restaurants that served the foods of their native countries. 

One of the oldest is The Berghoff.  In 1887, Herman Berghoff emigrated from Germany to the United States and opened a beer brewery in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Six years later, he brought his beer to Chicago for the Columbia exposition.  He stayed in Chicago and opened the Berghoff Cafe, which is famous for its beer, its food and its liquor license, which was the first liquor license issued in Chicago.

And then there's the Red Apple restaurant, an old favorite for Polish immigrants and everyone else who enjoys good food.  Its served buffet style, and it's very inexpensive.  They're famous for their potato pancakes, but they also serve many of the traditional foods of Poland.  Sauerkraut in sausages, dumplings, pierogies, cheese blintzes, and that old Polish stand-by, chicken chop suey.

When it comes to Greek food, a good spot is Papagus, which means Grandpa Gus.  The Chicago Tribune called it the best Greek restaurant in the city.  It's divided into areas, each representing a different part of Greece.  The Paros room represents the northern part of Greece.  Handmade cloth tarps line the ceilings.  The walls are white washed.  And the blue bottles represent the Mediterranean Sea.  It's where you'd find the shrimp phyllo bag, roasted jumbo shrimp wrapped in phyllo dough and served on saffron rice.  And whole fish grilled over wood.  The grill they use in Papagus is 150 years old, and burns only cherry wood.  It's also the place for flaming cheese, a Greek specialty.  The area that represents central Greece has stone steps and hand carved tiles on the floor, and vines and grape leaves on the walls.  This is the part of Greece where you would find grilled halibut and orzo pasta.  The Volos room represents the mountain regions of southern Greece.  Wooden stone in the minimalist style with religious relics on the walls.  This part of Greece is famous for rack of lamb and baklava dessert, made from roasted walnuts and almonds, and layered with phyllo dough and honey.  The restaurant is also responsible for bringing the new Greek wines to Chicago.  Greek grapes but grown in California. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Chicago also has a large Mexican community that arrived here during the second half of the 20th century.  And as you might expect, they brought their native cuisine to the city.  (Loud background traffic noise)  But what you might not expect is Topolobampo and the Frontera Grill, that are thought of as two of the best Mexican restaurants in North America.  Rick Bayless, who grew up in his family's barbecue restaurant in Oklahoma City, is the chef.  As an undergraduate student, he majored in Spanish and Latin American culture.  Three of his favorite dishes are tortilla soup with pasilla chili, fresh cheese and avocado.  Fish braised with tomatoes, capers, olives and herbs.  And quick fried shrimp with sweet, toasted garlic.  To make the quick fried shrimp, garlic goes into a food processor and gets chopped.  Then into a sauce pan with heated olive oil.  A little salt is added, which soaks into the garlic.

RICK BAYLESS ON CAMERA: It looks like a monumental amount of garlic, but it gets so sweet and toasty as it cooks.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: You never had problems with vampires.

RICK BAYLESS ON CAMERA: I definitely ... no, not when you make a dish like this.  So, a little sprinkling of salt over the top of it.  And then you squeeze it out ...

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Rick uses a Mexican lime press to extract the juice that goes into the garlic.

RICK BAYLESS ON CAMERA: It basically turns that half inside out.  It's a very, very efficient piece of kitchen equipment.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Seeds are removed from a canned chipotle chili pepper, at which point the pepper is thinly sliced and added to the sauce.

RICK BAYLESS ON CAMERA: Just let that simmer around for a couple of minutes, if you want, just so that the flavors are all combined. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: A little of the oil from the garlic goes into a heated frying pan followed by some peeled and cleaned shrimp ..... with their tails on.  Cilantro is chopped and mixed into the shrimp.  Rice that has been cooked with plantains is molded into a pyramid and placed into the center of a large bowl.

RICK BAYLESS: Onto the plate.  And if I've got it right in the middle ...

BURT WOLF: The shrimp are placed around the rice.

RICK BAYLESS: Okay.  So, we'll put a few of 'em around the outside of the ...

BURT WOLF: The garlic sauce is spooned onto the shrimp.

RICK BAYLESS: That is really beautifully sweet, tender pieces of garlic.  A little fresh flavor of ...

BURT WOLF: And finally, a little more of the chopped fresh cilantro.

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Chicago is also the home to one of the most interesting restaurant companies in the United States.  It's called Lettuce, as in the green leafy stuff, Entertainment You.  And as you can tell from the name, it is creative and has a sense of humor about what it creates.

It was started in the early 70s by Richard Melman and with his partners, built into a $170 million business. But unlike most restaurant groups that have a good idea that they take all over the country, Melman has opened almost all of his businesses in Chicago.  Curious to find out what commercial insight lay behind this unusual decision, I asked why he did almost all of his work in one town.

RICHARD MELMAN ON CAMERA: I hate to travel.  I don't like the aggravation of going to the airports and the delays with the planes.  And I have a horrible sense of direction.  When I do get to another town, I never know where I am.  And I'm a homebody, and I like being with my family.  And that's ... that's the reason.

Of the top four restaurants listed in the Zagat guide for Chicago, three are Melman's. Ambria for excellent French cuisine in an elegant atmosphere with art nouveau architectural touches.  It features a light approach that relies on the use of the freshest ingredients and cooking techniques that enhance the food's lighter flavors.

Everest is on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange building, and has one of the great views to dine by.  Considered one of the city's top dining rooms, it operates under the direction of chef/owner Jean Joho, who has been described by the Chicago Tribune as the most creative chef in the city. 

And Tru, which presents a progressive approach to French cooking and serves their dishes on a spectacular array of non-traditional surfaces.  Like caviar on a glass staircase, or marinated sushi in a bowl with a Japanese fighting fish. 

BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Those three restaurants are rather upscale, and their energy is directed towards producing a great cuisine.  But the company showed its sense of humor early on.  During the 70s, they opened a restaurant called Jonathan Livingston Seafood, and another one called Lawrence of Oregano.

And for years, I've been a fan of Big Bowl, which is a casual Asian cafe that offers an eclectic menu of simple fresh foods.  Asian noodles, stir-fries, soups and wraps.  And everything is inexpensive.  One of Lettuce Entertain You's most popular restaurants is Mon Ami Gabi which is an authentic reproduction of a Parisian bar the way they looked in the late 1800s.  A signature meal at the restaurant would start with onion soup, followed with a main course of steak with garlic butter and French fries, and end up with crepes banana foster for dessert. 

The pastry chef, Michel Briand is preparing the crepes.  He's from Brittany, which is a world epicenter of crepe cookery.  The base of his batter is made from flour, eggs, butter, oil, sugar and milk, which is standard.  But then, he adds a little rum and some Grand Marnier.  He's French, which explains the Grand Marnier, and he worked in the Caribbean for two years, which explains the rum.  The alcohol also opens the batter in a way that makes the crepe lighter.  It can be made early in the day and held for dinner.  Just put them in an air tight container and keep them at room temperature.  Make as many as you will need ahead of time.

Michel uses a non stick frying pan at the restaurant to make the crepe, but you could also use a pan specifically designed for the job.  The crepe pan should have sloping sides to keep the crepe round.  It should be shallow, so you can flip the crepe easily, and it should be made of a material that absorbs, distributes and retains heat well.  This pan is made of carbon steel.  And now, it's time for the sauce.  Butter is melted in a sauce pan. Brown sugar is added, and then corn syrup.   That's mixed together and brought to a boil. 

MICHEL BRIAND: Mixed everything so we don't have any lumps. 

As soon as the mixture reaches a boil, cream is added, and it's brought to a boil again, at which point some vanilla extract goes in.

MICHEL BRIAND: A shot.  Great.

The crepe goes onto a serving plate.  Ice cream is scooped onto the crepe.  A banana is sliced into a bowl.  The sauce is mixed with the banana.  Some of the banana sauce goes onto the ice cream.  The crepe is folded over.  More sauce goes on.  And finally, a dusting of powdered sugar.  Fantastic. 

BURT WOLF AND MICHEL BRIAND ON CAMERA: would you hold this for me?


BURT WOLF ON CAMERA: Thank you.  See you around.

Since 1959, the Second City has been touring the world and making people laugh.  Its alumni list reads like a Who's Who of American Comedy.  Alan Arkin, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Robert Klein, Dan Ackryod, Martin Short, Gilda Radner.  The Second City troops are masters of improvisational humor), and very often, part of a joke.

WOMAN ACTRESS ON CAMERA: I'm a waitress and I'm a sinner.  Sometimes folks come into the restaurant and they'll order a salad with fat free dressing, and I give 'em regular.  I don't know what's wrong with me.  I mean, I bet I get some sort of you know, evil pleasure out of seeing people eat a lot of fat, when they don't think they're getting any.

MAN: Have you or anyone in your family been a witness to or a victim of ...

MAN: Yeah.

MAN: All right. 

WOMAN: Have you or anyone in your family been a witness to or a victim of a drug crime?  Well, I haven't, but I think Joan has.  And Joan would be.

WOMAN: I’m Joan.

MAN: Doctor, I'm ready for my physician assisted suicide.

NURSE: All right, Mr. White.  I have two options for you.  The deluxe or the economy.

MAN: Well, my family doesn't have a lot of money, so the economy. 

NURSE: I understand. 

MAN: Hit the button.

WOMAN: I'm sorry.  I forget every time. You look great.

MAN: Oh, you look great.  You look really good.

WOMAN: You look better.  Oh, I love you. 

MAN: I love you too.

WOMAN: I love you more. Oh, honey, I'm sorry I was late.  I was at brunch with the girls.  I lost all track of time.

MAN: Oh well, you know, time flies.

WOMAN: Time flies when you're having fun.  I'm having fun.  Oh.  How about you?  You okay?

MAN: Oh yeah. I'm getting by, you know.

WOMAN: Good.  You're coping?

MAN: Coping?  Yeah, coping.  What's new?

WOMAN: Oh everything.  Everything is new. I'm so busy.  I'm meeting people and doing things.  I ... oh, I just wish you were with me to experience it all.  You know?

MAN: Oh, so do I.

WOMAN: You know, when they first put me in prison, I thought it was gonna be hell,  but I'm having a great time. 

MAN: Man, do these trains take a long time, or what? 

WOMAN: Going to a costume party or something? 

MAN: Oh no, I'm a super hero. 

WOMAN: Oh, like uh, Superman or something like that.  Huh?

MAN: Yeah, no.  I'm Captain Apathy.  I have all of the powers of Superman, but none of the willingness to use them.

MAN: Aeeyah (humming "Amazing Grace") ...

That's a taste of the local flavors of Chicago.  I hope you enjoyed it.  And I hope you will join me next time.  I'm Burt Wolf. 

MAN: (Still humming "Amazing Grace") 

If you would like free copies of the recipes from this program, or hundreds of other recipes from Burt’s programs, to read his special reports from around the world and interviews with leading food authorities or to order a copy of The New Cooks’ Catalogue, a critical guide that tells you what to look for when purchasing cooking equipment and utensils, with over 1,000 color photographs and recipes, just visit Burt online at BURTWOLF.COM.